Cablegate: 2009-2010 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report


DE RUEHTL #0352/01 3031550
R 301549Z OCT 09



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 097728; TALLINN 310

1. (U) The following is Embassy Tallinn's submission for the 2009 -
2010 (EUR) International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR)
Part I, Drugs and Chemical Control.


2. (U) The seizures of large amounts of narcotic substances,
detection of drug trafficking conspiracies, destruction of drug
labs, as well as arrests of record numbers of Estonian drug
traffickers abroad indicate drug production and transit activity
are ongoing in Estonia. It is also an indication of the success of
counternarcotics efforts by Estonian law enforcement agencies.
Except for the higher HIV-infection rate among intravenous drug
users, the drug situation in Estonia is similar to that in other
European countries. Estonia is a party to the main international
drug control conventions, including the UN Convention Against
Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances


3. (U) Trimethylphentanyl- an opiate-synthetic drug mixture called
"Afghan" - and heroin continue to be Estonia's most popular illegal
narcotics in 2009, but also ecstasy, amphetamines,
gammahydroxylbutyrate (GHB), cannabis and poppy are available in
Estonia. According to the field workers of non-governmental
organizations (NGO) working at needle exchange points, most
narcotic and psychotropic substances are available in Estonia. In
2009 Customs confiscated at the border 8.8 kg of liquid
phenylacetone (P2P) of Russian origin hidden in car parts.
Although P2P is a precursor for both amphetamine and
methamphetamine, according to the police over the past few years
there has been no evidence of methamphetamine production in
Estonia. Also according to field workers of harm reduction NGOs,
methamphetamine is not popular among Estonian drug users.
Amphetamine, however, is produced in Estonia.

4. (U) Detection of four drug labs, frequent arrests of drug
traffickers at the border and seizure of precursors indicate
Estonia's involvement in synthetic drug production. As reported in
the press, according to Finnish police most amphetamine sold in
Finland was produced in Estonian labs. While climate precludes
Estonia being a major drug cultivator, Estonian police have
detected and destroyed several small-scale cannabis plantations -
demonstrating drug dealers' intentions to start supplying the
domestic market locally. Also, the increasing number of Estonian
drug traffickers arrested in foreign countries shows Estonian drug
traffickers' involvement in the international illegal drug trade.
While in 2008 32 Estonian drug traffickers were arrested in foreign
countries, 48 Estonian traffickers were arrested abroad in the
first nine months of 2009. Seizures of large quantities of
narcotic substances by Estonian law enforcement agencies indicate
that Estonia is located on a drug transit route in the region but
also that Estonian Police, Customs and Border Guards are making
special efforts to reign in the illegal drug trade.

5. (U) According to Government of Estonia (GOE) and NGO estimates,
there are about 14,000 intravenous drug users (IDUs) in Estonia -
about one percent of the population.
According to NGOs the economic recession has brought a rapid
increase of clients - both new and relapses - who need harm
reduction services (REF B). Due to the large number of IDUs,
Estonia has the highest per capita growth rate of HIV infections in
Europe. As of October 2009, a total of 7,210 cases of HIV have
been registered nationwide, 301 of which were registered in 2009,
demonstrating that Estonia's infection rate continues to decline.


6. (U) POLICY INIATIVES. Estonia's domestic anti-narcotics legal
framework is in compliance with international drug conventions and

European Union (EU) narcotics regulations. The final provisions of
the Law Amending the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act
that came into force in 2008 brought the domestic law into full
compliance with the United Nations (UN) Convention against Illicit
Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. The GOE
continuously upgrades its domestic counter narcotics regulations.
In the beginning of 2009, Estonian Customs reported increased mail
order sales of synthetical cannabinoids called "Spice" in Estonia
and the Ministry of Social Affairs (MOSA) immediately included
Spice and other synthetical cannabinoids to the list of narcotic
and psychotropic substances and precursors.

7. (U) Estonia's accession to the European Union's Schengen visa
convention in 2008 significantly reduced the number of Finnish
"drug-tourists" travelling to Estonia to buy psychotropic
medicines. Under the new regime, a traveler on narcotic or
psychotropic medication within the Schengen zone needs a permit
from the state medicine authority indicating the amount of medicine
needed during the trip. Additionally, on January 1, 2009, the sale
of narcotics such as Subotex in pharmacies was terminated. Subotex
had been the most popular drug with finish drug-tourists. These
drugs are now made available only for hospital inpatients.

8. (U) In 2009, the GOE continued implementation of its 2007-09
Action Plan based on the National Strategy on Prevention of Drug
Dependency for 2004-2012, adopted in 2003. Despite significant
state budget cuts, all activities continued in a limited form in
all six objectives of the strategy: prevention, treatment and
rehabilitation, harm reduction, demand reduction, addressing the
problem of drugs in prisons, and overall monitoring and evaluation
of the Action Plan.

9. (U) Under Estonia's anti-HIV strategy, the GOE established a
governmental committee to coordinate HIV and drug abuse prevention
activities in 2006. The committee comprises representatives from
the MOSA, Ministry of Education and Research (MOER), Ministries of
Defense, Internal Affairs, Justice, and Finance. The committee
also includes local governments, the World Health Organization,
organizations for people living with HIV/AIDS, and members of the
original working groups that drafted the GOE's 2005-2015
anti-HIV/AIDS strategy. The Committee reports directly to the
Cabinet on a bi-annual basis.

10. (U) LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS. Combating narcotics is one of the
top priorities for Estonian law enforcement agencies. Police,
customs and the border guard maintain good cooperation on
counternarcotics activities. Currently, about one hundred police
officers work solely on drug issues. Their primary mission is to
destroy international drug rings, rather than to catch individual
suppliers. In addition to these full time counternarcotics
officers, all local constables also process drug-related
misdemeanor acts. In 2009 the overall trend in crime remained low
in Estonia and a remarkable decline took place in drug related
offences: the number of cases of handling of narcotics in small
amounts dropped by 58 percent and cases of handling large amounts
by 36 percent. The decline is attributed to the increased efforts
by Estonian Police to reign in the illegal drug trade.

11. (U) In June, after months of investigation, officers of the
North Police Prefecture drug squad seized in Tallinn one kilo of
threemethylfentanyl (aka China White), a record amount of synthetic
heroin confiscated in Estonia. The seizure amounted to an
estimated 35,000 doses with a total street value of $300,000. In
addition major seizures from different police operations include:
37.4 kg of amphetamine, 1.5 kg of fentanyl, 9.2 kg of GHB, 8.8 kg
of cannabis and cannabis products, 4.6 kg of cocaine and 1.7 kg of
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine and its analogues.

12. (U) Combating the illicit narcotics trade is also a top
priority for the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCB). All
customs, investigation, and information officers have received
special training in narcotics control, and all customs border
points are equipped with rapid drug tests. There are about 100
customs officers working on the Estonian-Russian border (the
European Union's easternmost border). Another 150 customs officers
work in mobile units all over Estonia. Four customs officers deal
with information analysis and 12 officers from the Investigation
Department are specialized solely on narcotic- related crimes.
There are 18 customs teams with 21 drug sniffing dogs. In March, a
drug sniffing dog detected 4.5 kg of narcotic substances (3 kg of

powdered amphetamine and 4867 ecstasy tablets) hidden in the spare
wheel of a car boarding a ferry to Helsinki.

13. (U) CORRUPTION. Estonia has a low incidence of corruption,
receiving high scores on international corruption and economic
transparency indices - out-performing all other new EU member
states, except for Slovenia, and some of the old EU-15 countries.
The GOE does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or
distribution of narcotics or psychotropic drugs or the laundering
of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. There are no reports
of any senior official of the GOE engaging in, encouraging, or
facilitating the illicit production or distribution of narcotic

14. (U) AGREEMENTS AND TREATIES. Estonia is party to the main
international drug control conventions: the UN Single Convention on
Narcotic Drugs (1961), the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances
(1971), the UN Convention against Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic
Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988), and the Council of Europe
Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure, and Confiscation of the
Proceeds from Crime (1990). On April 07, 2009, a new extradition
treaty between the United States and Estonia came into force,
replacing the 1924 agreement. The new agreement is in compliance
with agreements previously signed between the EU and the United
States as well as with a 2002 decision of the EU Council concerning
arrest warrants and transfer procedures. The U.S.-Estonian mutual
legal assistance treaty in criminal matters has been in force since
2000. Estonia is a party to the UN Convention against
Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. Estonia's
domestic drug legislation is consistent with international laws
combating illicit drugs.

15. (U) CULTIVATION/PRODUCTION. Estonia's cold climate precludes
it from becoming a major drug cultivator. However, the recent
destruction of cannabis plantations shows Estonians' involvement in
small-scale marijuana production for the domestic market.
According to press reports four small plantations - from five
plants to 247 plants were destroyed in 2009. Also, in northeastern
Estonia small amounts of poppies are grown for domestic
consumption. Further, seized precursors at the border indicate
that synthetic narcotics production is ongoing in Estonia.
According to drug-prevention NGOs, most of the labs are very small
and mobile, making them difficult to detect and close. In 2009
police detected four drug labs: three producing GHB and one
producing amphetamine. In addition to production for domestic
consumption, synthetic drugs produced in Estonia are exported to
neighboring countries, including the Nordic countries and
northwestern Russia. Although the police know the main route of
the contraband, discovery of drugs is difficult because of the busy
Tallinn-Helsinki ferry traffic.

16. (U) DRUG FLOW/TRANSIT. Estonia's geographic position makes it
attractive to drug smugglers. Frequent arrests of drug traffickers
and seizures of narcotic substances at the border indicate
Estonia's involvement in the international drug trade, but also
demonstrate the high performance level of Estonian law enforcement
agencies. From January to September 2009, 48 Estonian drug
traffickers were arrested around the world, demonstrating
Estonians' increasing involvement in the international drug trade
(in 2008 total 32 Estonian drug traffickers were arrested abroad).

continued to implement its 2004-2012 National Strategy on the
Prevention of Drug Dependency. Combating the drug trade and
reigning in domestic consumption continue to be high priorities for
all Estonian law enforcement agencies and for key government
ministries. There are more than 60 governmental, non-governmental,
and private entities in Estonia working with IDUs to provide
services to decrease demand and reduce harm. Currently, there are
eight voluntary HIV testing and counseling centers providing
services at nine sites. The GOE and local governments fund these
centers. A needle exchange program is operational at 36 sites,
including 23 field work areas and a number of mobile needle
exchange stations in Tallinn and northeast Estonia. Five
organizations provide methadone treatment at seven sites in Tallinn
and northeast Estonia. A toll-free helpline for drug addicts is
operational 24 hours a day. Six organizations that provide drug
rehabilitation services in major rehabilitation centers are funded
by the GOE and three centers are church-sponsored.


18. (U) In 2009, the U.S. European Command Counter Narcotics
Terrorism Division allocated USD $800,000 to build two helicopter
refueling stations in Estonia. The project is in cooperation with
the Estonian Border Guard and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and
directly contributes to national narcotics control. Construction
will be completed in 2010.

19. (U) The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) in cooperation with
the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) continued implementation of the
second phase of a project entitled "DOD HIV/AIDS Prevention
Program". The aim of the second phase of the project is to
generate baseline statistical information on infection rates within
the Estonian Military Forces using rapid tests.

20. (U) In November, in cooperation with the Nordic Council of
Ministers and the MOER, post is hosting an international HIV
education conference "The Challenges of Health Education in the
Baltic Sea Region" to emphasize the importance of health education
and promote cooperation between stake holders on HIV prevention.


21. N/A


22. (U) Estonia's principal legislation on chemical controls - the
Act on Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances and Precursors (ANPSP)
- implements the 1988 UN Drug Convention objectives and is in full
compliance with EU legislation on drug precursors. In accordance
with the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1971
UN Convention on Psychotropic Substance, the ANPSP categorizes
chemical substances into three categories. None of the substances
in any of the three categories are produced in Estonia.

23. (U) The first specified controlled substance category under the
ANPSP includes ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Under the law, a
license is needed to possess, market, import, export, or broker
these substances. The Bureau of Import, Export, Narcotic Drugs and
Psychotropic Substances of the State Agency of Medicine (SAM) is
responsible for chemical control in Estonia. Currently, the SAM
has issued one ephedrine handling license to a company which trades
ephedrine within the EU. The SAM has not issued any licenses to
import or export ephedrine to or from outside the EU. The annual
use of ephedrine in Estonia is about six kilograms. The GOE has a
pre-export notification procedure even though Estonia does not
manufacture medicines that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.

24. (U) Potassium permanganate and acetic anhydride are included in
the ANPSP's second category of controlled substances. Annual use
in Estonia for both substances is less than one hundred kilos. In
order to handle, market, import, or export potassium permanganate
and acetic anhydride, the producing and marketing venue must be
registered with the SAM. In order to export potassium permanganate
and acetic anhydride, an export license and a pre-export
notification are required. Neither potassium permanganate nor
acetic anhydride is produced in Estonia, and the SAM has not issued
any licenses to export these substances to third countries. The
third category of drugs under the ANPSP is not relevant to this

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