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Cablegate: Chile: Incsr 1 Submission


DE RUEHSG #1032/01 3061838
R 021837Z NOV 09



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 97230

1. Per reftel, please find below Embassy Santiago's INCSR 1
submission. Post will also submit via email.

2. Chile

I. Summary

Chile is a transit country for Andean cocaine shipments destined
for Europe and has a domestic marijuana consumption problem. In a
new development that surfaced in 2009, Chile has been a source of
ephedrine for methamphetamine processing in Mexico. It is also
potential source of precursor chemicals for use in cocaine
processing in Peru and Bolivia. Chile is a party to the 1988 UN
Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Chile is an attractive transit country for drug traffickers because
it shares long, difficult-to-monitor borders with Peru, Bolivia,
and Argentina and has a number of international ports. Chile ranks
second in per capita cocaine consumption and first in marijuana
consumption among South American countries, according to the United
Nation's 2009 World Drug Report. Some marijuana is cultivated in
Chile, but most is imported from Paraguay for use by Chilean
teenagers and young adults. Chilean police officials report an
increase in drug trafficking from Bolivia in 2009. Authorities
also report a recent increase in the domestic supply of cocaine and
a corresponding drop in price. Chile's National Drug Control
Commission (CONACE), which is responsible for formulating and
implementing drug policies, released a study in 2009 that showed an
increase in the perception of risk associated with drug use.

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III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. Chile recognizes the threat posed by illicit
narcotics and has adopted policies and enforcement efforts that
contribute to worldwide drug control efforts. In 2009, Chile
assumed a leadership role in the international anti-narcotics
community, serving as the president of the Organization of American
States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (OAS/CICAD).
Chile also hosted an EU-Latin America and Caribbean drug treatment
conference and INTERPOL's 20th Regional Conference of the Americas.

Chile classified "spice", a mixture of herbs and synthetic
cannabinoid compounds that has effects similar to marijuana, as a
prohibited drug in April. CONACE maintained its pilot drug court
program in Santiago, Valparaiso, Iquique and Antofagasta. There
are now 18 drug courts in Chile which are similar to U.S. drug
courts in offering rehabilitation to drug offenders under judicial

The Chilean Congress continued to evaluate legislation that would
replace CONACE with a National Service for the Prevention of Drug
Consumption and Trafficking. The National Service would have
responsibilities similar to CONACE, including the development and
implementation of drug prevention and rehabilitation policies, but
would report to a newly created Ministry of Public Security instead
of the Ministry of Interior.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Through June 2009, Chile reported seizures
of approximately 1659 kilograms (kg) of cocaine; 2537 kg of cocaine
paste; 6402 kg of processed marijuana; and 32,284 units of illegal
pharmaceutical drugs. Statistics were not available for heroin,
Ecstasy, or LSD. Noteworthy operations included the May 2009
seizure of 243 kg of cocaine valued at $243 million near
Antofagasta in northern Chile. The seizure took place using aerial
surveillance and resulted in six arrests.

Chile's counternarcotics law enforcement efforts are led by the
Carabineros de Chile (uniformed national police) and the Policia de
Investigaciones (investigative police-PDI). Both the Carabineros
and the PDI have dedicated anti-drug units that are considered
highly professional and competent. Law enforcement efforts target

both street level dealers and major traffickers and their
organizations. In 2009, Chilean law enforcement officials
uncovered several advanced drug trafficking techniques, including
highly compressed cocaine molded into the shape of suitcases. The
Carabineros continued to implement "Plan Vigia" (Plan Lookout) in
northern Chile in response to increased drug trafficking from
Bolivia. The plan, which was initiated in 2008, increased
anti-narcotic resources in northern Chile, including the
introduction of aerial surveillance. The National Customs Service
acquired two truck scanners that are used to screen cargo at border
crossings. The Border Intelligence and Analysis Group continued to
operate with limited success.

Chile's Coast Guard, the General Directorate of Maritime Territory
and Merchant Marine (DIRECTEMAR), is responsible for all maritime
law enforcement activities, including counternarcotics. DIRECTEMAR
has more than 80 small, medium, and large vessels that patrol
Chilean coastline and waterways and operates two Defender fast
boats in Arica to intercept maritime drug shipping. It coordinates
with the Carabineros, PDI, and Customs agency to conduct maritime
narcotics operations. DIRECTEMAR's ability to confront maritime
trafficking is limited by Chile's extensive coastline which
stretches more than 4000 miles.

Corruption. The Government of Chile (GOC) does not encourage or
facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or
psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the
laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Narcotics-related corruption among police officers and other
government officials is not considered a major problem in Chile,
and no current Chilean senior officials have been accused of such
activities. In cases where police are discovered to be involved in
drug trafficking, or in protecting traffickers, simultaneous
termination and investigation are immediate. Chile is
traditionally considered one of the least corrupt countries in the
Western Hemisphere and ranked as the least corrupt country in South
America in the 2008 Corruption Perception Index Survey released by
Transparency International.

Agreements and Treaties. Chile is a party to the 1961 UN Single
Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the
1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 UN Drug
Convention. Chile is also a party to the UN Convention against
Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking
in person and migrant smuggling, and the UN Convention Against
Corruption. The 1900 U.S.-Chile Extradition Treaty is currently in
force and the United States and Chile are negotiating a new
extradition treaty. While the U.S. and Chile do not have a
bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT), both countries are
parties to the Organization of American States' 1992 Inter-American
Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, which
facilitates mutual legal assistance.

Cultivation/Production. Chile produces a small amount of marijuana
that is consumed domestically.

Drug Flow/Transit. Narcotics enter and transit Chile via legal and
illegal border crossings with Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.
Chile's borders with these three countries stretch more than 1300
miles and there are approximately 150 illegal border crossings.
Rough terrain inhibits efforts to intercept narcotics along the
borders. Narcotics transit out of Chile to Europe and possibly the
United States by sea. Inspection restrictions established by the
treaty ending the War of the Pacific require Chilean authorities to
seek permission from the Government of Bolivia to inspect cargo
originating in that country and transiting Chile. This impedes
efforts to intercept illegal narcotics as it allows some cargo to
pass through ports in Arica, Iquique, and Antofagasta without
Chilean inspection. Some narcotics also transit out of Chile via
international airports in Santiago and Arica.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. CONACE has offices in all 15
regions of the country and offers a wide variety of drug prevention
and treatment programs. Prevention programs target schools,
families, and the workplace. CONACE has also instituted a
community fund that provides grants to local organizations that
design and implement prevention programs. Chile offers drug
rehabilitation treatment through CONACE and the Ministry of Health

at more than 200 health centers around the country. Chile does not
promote or sanction harm reduction programs.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. The USG works closely with Chile to strengthen
Chile's ability to confront drug trafficking. Specific U.S. goals
include enhanced interagency cooperation among Chilean law
enforcement entities, an increase in Chile's ability to conduct
international drug investigations, and an increase in
anti-narcotics resources in northern Chile. Chile is a strong
anti-narcotics partner and the U.S. works closely with Chilean
partners to achieve shared objectives.

Bilateral Cooperation. In 2009, the USG and GOC worked together to
address interagency cooperation and complex, international drug
investigations. In March, Chilean law enforcement officials
attended a money laundering presentation at the U.S. Embassy. In
June, police officers from the Carabineros and PDI participated in
the ILEA Drug Unit Commanders Course in Lima, Peru. In August,
chemists from Chile's Institute of Health attended a week-long
course at the DEA Laboratory in Washington, DC to enhance drug
analysis intelligence. In October, Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) officers conducted a five-day Chemical Precursor course in
Santiago. DEA offices in Santiago, Lima, and Asuncion continued to
support an Officer Exchange Program among their respective host
nations in 2009. Officials from the National Prosecutor's Office
(Ministerio Publico) also traveled to the U.S. to participate in a
chemical precursor course.

The Road Ahead. The USG will continue to foster interagency
cooperation, provide assistance in international investigations,
and promote increased resources for northern Chile. The USG and
Chile formed a trilateral development partnership in 2009 to offer
assistance, including law enforcement training and development, to
other Latin America countries. Chile is a strong anti-narcotics
partner, and the USG encourages the GOC to continue its
antinarcotics leadership.

Chile: Chemical Precursors

Chile has a large petrochemical industry engaged in the
manufacturing, importation, and exportation of thousands of
chemical products. Chile has been a source of ephedrine for
methamphetamine processing in Mexico. In 2009, Chilean authorities
arrested and prosecuted individuals who purchased large amounts of
ephedrine through a local chemical company and then covertly sent
the ephedrine to Mexico using commercial mailing companies. Chile
is also a potential source of precursor chemicals used in coca
processing in Peru and Bolivia.

Chilean law enforcement entities have specialized chemical
diversion units. Companies that import, export, or manufacture
chemical precursors must register with CONACE, maintain customer
records, and are subject to CONACE inspections. There is pending
legislation in the Chilean Congress to expand the list of companies
subject to inspection by government authorities. CONACE has also
requested additional resources to hire more inspectors so it can
provide stronger oversight and regulation of the petrochemical indu

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