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Cablegate: International Narcotics Control Strategy Report For

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RR RUEHC RUEHSD
DE RUEHLM #1077/01 3310702
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 270702Z NOV 09 CTG RUEHSD SVC 08710
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0851
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 3533
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 2107
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 91

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 001077

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/INS


E.O 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR CE
SUBJECT: INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL STRATEGY REPORT FOR
2009/2010, Sri Lanka

REF: STATE 97228

COLOMBO 00001077 001.2 OF 003


1. Per reftel, below is the 2009/10 International Narcotics Control
Strategy Report for Sri Lanka. The INCSR for the Maldives will be
transmitted septel.

SUMMARY --

2. Sri Lanka has a relatively small-scale drug problem. The
Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) remains committed to targeting drug
traffickers and implementing nation-wide demand reduction programs.
Since early 2005, the U.S. government has fostered a strengthened
relationship with Sri Lanka on counternarcotics issues by offering
training for the Sri Lanka Police. Sri Lanka is a party to the 1988
UN Drug Convention, ratifying key legislation in October, 2007.

STATUS OF COUNTRY --

3. Sri Lanka is not a significant producer of narcotics or precursor
chemicals and plays a minor role as a transshipment route for heroin
from India. GSL officials work to raise internal awareness of and
vigilance against efforts by drug traffickers attempting to use Sri
Lanka as a transit point for illicit drug smuggling. Domestically,
officials are addressing a modest upsurge in domestic consumption,
consisting of heroin, cannabis, and to a lesser extent, Ecstasy.

COUNTRY ACTIONS AGAINST DRUGS IN 2009 --
POLICY INITIATIVES

4. The lead agency for counternarcotics efforts is the Police
Narcotics Bureau (PNB), headquartered in the capital city of
Colombo. The GSL remains committed to ongoing efforts to curb
illicit drug use and trafficking.

5. In the past year, the PNB recruited more officers, resulting in
increased investigations and interdictions, and deployed field
officers in strategic locations along the coastal belts where drug
trafficking is active. The PNB also conducted in-service
counternarcotics training for police outside of the
conflict-affected north and east and drug awareness programs in
schools on a regular basis. Over the past year, 22 drug prevention
and enforcement officials from Sri Lanka participated in regional
training opportunities.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

6. The PNB and Excise Department worked closely to target cannabis
producers and dealers, resulting in several successful arrests. The
PNB warmly welcomed and has been an active partner in taking full
advantage of U.S.-sponsored training for criminal investigative
techniques and management practices in the past.

7. Sri Lanka continued to work with the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory
Program, a regional organization, South Asian Association for
Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and the United Nations Office of Drugs
and Crime (UNODC) on regional narcotics issues. The SAARC Drug
Offense Monitoring Desk (S India and Pakistan,
origin countries for the majority of drugs in Sri Lanka.

LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS

8. The PNB continued to cooperate closely with the Customs Service,
the Department of Excise, and the Sri Lankan Police to curtail
illicit drug supplies in and through the country. As a result of
these efforts, over the last 12 months GSL officials arrested 4,346
persons on charges of using or dealing heroin and 8,540 persons on
cannabis charges. This represents an enormous drop from last year's
9,825 and 33,848 arrests respectively, most likely a result of the
GSL's single-minded effort to end the thirty-year war against the
LTTE. Police seized a total of 30 kg of heroin and 55,244 kg of
cannabis during this last reporting period. Arrests are done by the
Police Narcotics Bureau, local police, Terrorism Investigation

COLOMBO 00001077 002 OF 003


Division (TID), Criminal Investigation Division(CID), Customs,
Excise Department, Forest Department, Prisons Department and the
Navy.

9. Apart from its Colombo headquarters, the PNB has one sub-unit at
the Bandaranaike International Airport near Colombo, complete with
operational personnel and a team of narcotics-detecting dogs. A
Nepalese national was arrested at the airport in January attempting
to smuggle 1 1/2 kilos of heroin from Thailand. In May a Pakistani
man and three women were detected attempting to smuggle 284 packs of
heroin concealed in condoms, which they had swallowed. In June, an
Indian woman was detected attempting to smuggle in a large quantity
of cocaine valued at Rs. 7 million.

CORRUPTION

10. The GSL does not, as a matter of policy, encourage or facilitate
the illicit production or distribution of any controlled substances
or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. A
government commission established to investigate bribery and
corruption charges against public officials that resumed operations
in 2004 continued through 2009, although with little activity.
There are unconfirmed reports of links between drug traffickers and
individual corrupt officials. However, since late 2007, there have
been no arrests of government officials on bribery or corruption
charges related to drugs.

AGREEMENTS AND TREATIES

11. Sri Lanka is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and the 1990
SAARC Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
Over the past year, Parliament passed amendments to the Convention
Against Illicit Trafficking of Narcotics and Psychotropic Substancesotropic Substances. Sri
Lanka is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational
Organized Crime, and has signed, but not yet ratified, the Protocol
on Trafficking in Persons and the Protocol on Migrant Smuggling.
Sri Lanka is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption.
An extradition treaty is in force between the U.S. and Sri Lanka. A
U.S.-Sri Lanka extradition treaty has been in force since January
12, 2001. The GSL also signed an agreement with the Russian
Federation to cooperate more closely on extradition cases.

CULTIVATION/PRODUCTION

12. Some cannabis is cultivated and used locally, but there is
little indication that it is exported. The majority of cannabis
cultivation occurs in the southeast jungles of Sri Lanka. PNB and
Excise Department officials work together to locate and eradicate
cannabis crops. One clandestine laboratory making synthetic drugs
was raided in July 2008, but none since then.

DRUG FLOW/TRANSIT

13. The military defeat of the LTTE in May, 2009, may have changed
the dynamics of the drug trade in Asia. Since 1983, the LTTE was
involved in bulk delivery of heroin and cannabis from producing
areas in Asia to consuming countries. Mumbai was the key link in
the LTTE drug trade. While Sri Lanka's coast remains highly
vulnerable to transshipment of heroin moving from India, observers
expect a dramatic reduction in drug-related activity in the region.


14. Police officials state that the international airport is a major
entry point for the transshipment of illegal narcotics through Sri
Lanka. Police note that the Ecstasy found in Colombo social venues
is believed to be imported from Thailand.

DOMESTIC PROGRAMS/DEMAND REDUCTION

15. The Police Narcotics Bureau, the National Dangerous Drugs
Control Board (NDDCB) and the several NGOs are carrying out
awareness and education programs at schools and for special

COLOMBO 00001077 003 OF 003


populations. The Sri Lanka Anti Narcotics Association is working on
minimizing risk factors and is working on a platform of information
technology for the empowerment of youth populations on employability
and parenting though the internet, particularly for overseas workers
and their families. The Presidential Unit on Alcohol, Tobacco and
Drugs is using enforcement tactics with a tilt towards prohibition
for the eradication of drugs. The NDDCB regularly conducted
outreach among employee groups, school children and teachers, and
community leaders.

U.S. POLICY INITIATIVES AND PROGRAMS --
POLICY INITIATIVES

16. The USG remained committed to helping GSL officials develop
increased capacity and cooperation for counternarcotics issues. The
USG also continued its support of a regional counternarcotics
program, including through the Colombo Plan, which conducts regional
and country-specific training seminars, fostering communication and
cooperation throughout Asia. Towards that end, the U.S. Coast Guard
provided residential training to Sri Lankan officers in the areas of
International Crisis, Command and Control, as well as residential
training in Seaport Security.

ROAD AHEAD

17. The U.S. government will continue its commitment to aid the Sri
Lankan police in its transition to community-focused policing
techniques. This will be accomplished with additional assistance
for training. The U.S. also expects to continue its support of
regional and country-specific training programs. The U.S. Drug
Enforcement Administration attach based in New Delhi visited
Colombo in November 2009 to coordinate anti-drug trafficking
activities with the local police and the Embassy. The DEA attach
also met with the Interagency Law Enforcement Working Group at post.


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