Cablegate: Croatia Incsr 2006/2007 - Part One


DE RUEHVB #0996/01 3100928
R 060928Z NOV 07






E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 136780

1. (U) Below please find, per reftel request, part one of post's
submission for the annual International Narcotics Control Strategy
Report. Part two on money laundering will be submitted septel.
I. Summary
Croatia is not a producer of narcotics. However, narcotics
smuggling through the Balkans route to Western Europe remains a
serious concern to Croatian authorities. Croatian law enforcement
bodies cooperate actively with their U.S. and regional counterparts
to combat narcotics smuggling. Croatia is a party to the 1988 UN
Drug Convention. During the 2006, the Government Office for
Suppression of Narcotics established bilateral cooperation with
several countries (e.g. UK, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Poland,
Hungary and the Russian Federation). The Government Office also
continued cooperation with the countries in the region. According
to current statistics, the amount of available narcotics on the
Croatian market increased and the scope broadened during the year,
resulting in a greater number of addicts. The number of treated
persons in 2006 was 7,427 (out of which 2,000 were treated for the
first time), an increase from prior years (e.g. 2005 - 6,668
persons; 2004 - 5,768 persons). Of the total number of persons
treated in 2006, 82% were men. As in previous years, addicts were
mainly addicted to heroin and opiates.
II. Status of Country
Croatia shares borders with Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, Hungary,
and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has a 1,000 km long coastline (4,000
km adding in its 1,001 islands), which presents an attractive target
to contraband smugglers seeking to move narcotics into the large
European market. Narcotics smuggling continued to increase along
the "Balkan Route" destined for European markets, with the majority
transiting through Croatia's land borders.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2006
Policy Initiatives. In December 2005, Croatia adopted a National
Strategy for Narcotics Abuse Prevention for 2006-2012, developed
with assistance from the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and
Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). The Strategy aims to bring demand and
supply reduction efforts in line with EU policies and creates a
National Information Unit for Drugs to standardize monitoring and
the assessment of drug abuse data in order to facilitate data
sharing with the EU's EMCDDA programs. In February 2006, the
Government of Croatia (GOC) adopted the Action Plan on Drug Abuse
Control for 2006-2009. The goal of the Action Plan is to achieve
equal availability of programs throughout the country targeting
primarily children, youth and families. In June 2006, Parliament
adopted changes to the Criminal Code, which increased sentences for
possession and dealing of illicit drugs. Croatia also instituted
changes to the criminal code, increasing penalties for several other
narcotics-related offenses. The minimum penalty for narcotics
production and dealing was increased from one to three years. The
minimum penalty for selling narcotics by organized groups was
increased from three to five years. The minimum penalty for
incitement or facilitating the use of illegal narcotics was
increased to one year. In addition, punishment for possession of
related equipment or precursor chemicals was increased from three
months to a mandatory sentence of no less than one year. Other
changes to the criminal code permit the police to use such tactics
as controlled deliveries, a method that was used this year with
international cooperation. Another amendment to the criminal code
eases measures to confiscate assets of organized crime groups by
placing the burden of providing evidence about the origins of assets
on the defendant rather than the prosecutor, and allowing
confiscation of assets acquired during the period of incriminating
activity. Croatia continues to cooperate well with other European
states to improve the control and management of its porous borders.
Authorities describe cooperation on narcotics enforcement issues
with neighboring states as excellent.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The Interior Ministry, Justice Ministry and
Customs Directorate have primary responsibility for law enforcement
issues, while the Ministry of Health has primary responsibility for
the strategy to reduce and treat drug abuse. The Interior
Ministry's Anti-Narcotics Division is responsible for coordinating
the work of counter-narcotics units in police departments throughout
the country. The Interior Ministry maintains cooperative
relationships with Interpol and neighboring states, and cooperates
through the South-Eastern Cooperation Initiative (SECI). Croatian
police and Customs authorities continued to coordinate
counter-narcotics efforts on targeted border-crossing points Police
reported the following seizures: Heroin (82 kg in 2006 vs. 52 kg in
the first 9 months in 2007) and hashish (12 kg in 2006 vs. 4 kg in
the first nine months of 2007, marijuana 202.5 kg vs. 179 kg in the
first nine months in 2007, cocaine 5.6 kg vs. 16 kg in the first
nine months in 2007, amphetamine 11.6 kg vs. 7 kg in the first nine
months of 2007, ecstasy 16,340 tablets vs. 12,177 tablets in the
first nine months of 2007). In 2005, police submitted charges
against 5,700 persons for narcotics-associated crimes; in 2006
police initiated criminal charges against 6,017 individuals and in
the first nine months of 2007 police initiated criminal charges
against 5,041 persons. Crimes associated with the sale or abuse of
narcotics make up 10% of total crimes recorded. During 2006, 8,346
registered criminal acts were associated with narcotics smuggling
and abuse.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Croatia does not
encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of
narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or
the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Similarly, to post's knowledge, no senior government official is
alleged to have participated in, encouraged, or facilitated such
activities. Croatia is a party to the UN Corruption Convention.
Agreements and Treaties. Croatia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug
Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972
Protocol, and the 1972 UN Convention Against Psychotropic
Substances. Croatia is also a party to the UN Convention against
Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking
in persons, migrant smuggling, and illegal manufacturing and
trafficking in firearms. Extradition between Croatia and the United
States is governed by the 1902 Extradition Treaty between the U.S.
and the Kingdom of Serbia, which applies to Croatia as a successor
state. Croatia has signed bilateral agreements with 34 countries
permitting cooperation on combating terrorism, organized crime,
smuggling and narcotics abuse.
Cultivation/Production. Small-scale cannabis production for domestic
use is the only narcotics production within Croatia. Poppy seeds
are cultivated on a small scale for culinary use. Because of
Croatia's small drug market and its relatively porous border,
Croatian police report that nearly all illegal drugs are imported
into Croatia. However, authorities believe that given the existence
of ecstasy labs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is inevitable that
small-scale labs will be discovered in Croatia.
Drug Flow/Transit. Croatia lies along part of the "Balkan heroin
smuggling Route." Authorities believe that much of the heroin from
Asian sources transverses this route to reach European markets.
Although Croatia is not considered a primary gateway, police seizure
data indicate smugglers continue to attempt to use Croatia as a
transit point for non-opiate drugs, including cocaine and
cannabis-based drugs. Cannabis-based drugs have increasingly been
identified at road border crossings. Ecstasy and other synthetics
are smuggled into Croatia from the Netherlands and Belgium.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Office for Combating Drug
Abuse in cooperation with relevant ministries, develops the National
Strategy for Narcotics Abuse Prevention (most recently in its
Strategy for 2006-2012), and is the focal point for agency
coordination activities to reduce demand for narcotics. Croatia has
eight therapy communities with 32 therapy houses which operate as
non-governmental organizations or religious communities, or were
established and registered as social care facilities for addicts.
The facilities offer treatment and psychosocial rehabilitation to
drug addicts. Therapy communities implement programs of
psychosocial rehabilitation, work therapy, family counseling,
prevention awareness programs, and cooperate with the Centers for
Prevention of Addictions, Centers for Social Welfare, hospitals,
clinics, various state bodies, and domestic and foreign humanitarian
Demand reduction programs are coordinated by the Government's Office
for Combating Drug Abuse. The Ministry of Education requires drug
education in primary and secondary schools within its "healthy
lifestyles" courses. Other ministries and government organizations
also run outreach programs to reach specific constituencies such as
pregnant women. The state-run medical system offers treatment for
addicts, but slots are insufficient to accommodate all needing
treatment. The Ministry of Health oversees in-patient
detoxification programs as well as 21 regional outpatient prevention
centers which provide testing, counseling, and referrals.
According to GOC statistics, the highest number of treated addicts
was registered in Istria, followed by the counties of Zadar, Zagreb,
Sibenik, and Dubrovnik. The highest numbers of treated opiates
addicts were registered in the county of Zadar, followed by Istria
and Sibenik. High rates did not necessarily reflect high drug abuse
rates, but rather an efficient system of their inclusion in
treatment. The number of treated persons in 2006 was 7,427 (out of
which 2,000 were treated for the first time), an increase in from
prior years (e.g. 2005 - 6,668 persons and in 2004 - 5,768 persons).
Of the total number of persons treated in 2006, 82% were men. As
in previous years, addicts were mainly addicted to heroin and
In 2006 the GOC developed therapy guidelines for methadone therapy
and in 2007 for buprenophine. Pharmacotherapy with buprenophine
increased: 18% of practitioners used the treatment in 2006, compared
with 3% in 2005. The increase in therapy is attributable to the
coverage by the national health insurance system for such
treatments. Therapy using methadone in 2006 increased by 34% from
the prior year, up from 886 persons in 2005 to 1,186 in 2006. The
number of deaths in 2006 regarding narcotic drugs decreased from the
prior year by 15%. Out of 90 deaths, 81 persons were men and nine
were women. Those deaths largely occurred in the city of Zagreb
(38%), Split county (19%) and Istria county (10%). In 2006, the GOC
spent 64 million kuna ($12.5 million) for the implementation of the
National Strategy for Suppression of Narcotics and its Action Plan,
which is an increase of 28% from the previous year.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The primary objectives of U.S. initiatives in
Croatia have been focused on improving the ability of Croatian law
enforcement agencies to work bilaterally and regionally to combat
organized crime and narcotics trafficking. Having achieved these
two basic objectives, U.S. assistance for police reform efforts
under the ICITAP (DoJ) program was refocused on combating organized
crime and corruption. In October 2006, Croatian police formed the
first joint police-prosecutor task force to target a criminal
organization involved in drug trafficking and other illegal
activities. The task force yielded several arrests. In addition,
Croatian police have been regular participants in training programs
at the U.S.-funded International Law Enforcement Academy. Under the
Export Control and Border Security (EXBS) program, police and
customs officers have been trained this year on border security,
tracker training, port security and vulnerability, seaport
interdiction, and commodity identification, all of which will assist
in preventing drug trafficking through Croatia. Equipment donations
and related training for border police officers will further enhance
Croatia's ability to detect and interdict shipments.
Road Ahead. For 2007-2008, U.S. expert training teams will join
in-country U.S. trainers to help Croatian police develop skills in
surveillance, management development, witness support, fugitive
tracking, and informant management. A resident advisor will
continue to assist the Ministry of Interior in improving police and
prosecutor cooperation in complex narcotics, corruption, and
organized crime cases. Additional training and detection equipment
donations planned for 2008 under the EXBS program will have spin-off
benefits for Croatia's fight against narcotics trafficking,
particularly in the areas of interagency cooperation and border
Chemical Control Issues. The Ministry of Health controls the sale of
drug precursor chemicals such as acetic anhydride and kali
permanganate (potassium permanganate is not listed). Concurrently,
the Ministry of Economy controls exports and imports of those

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