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Cablegate: International Narcotics Control Strategy Report For

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DE RUEHLM #0079/01 0330521
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 020521Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1236
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 3801
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 2364
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 9386
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 7641
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 2693
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 9947
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0087
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000079

SIPDIS

SCA/INSB for Anthony Renzulli
INL for John Lyle

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

REF: STATE 97228

1. Per reftel, below is the 2009/10 International Narcotics Control
Strategy Report for Maldives.

SUMMARY

2. The Government of the Maldives (GOM) estimates that as much as
ten percent of its population of 350,000 uses illicit drugs
regularly. The GOM is committed to targeting drugs traffickers and
implementing nation-wide demand reduction programs. It is working
with international donors to tackle the nation's drug problem.

STATUS OF COUNTRY

3. The Maldives is not a producer of narcotics or precursor
chemicals; however the drug problem is quite dramatic. Some GOM
officials estimate that as much as ten percent of the population is
addicted to or abuses drugs. Drug use has been noted in all regions
of the Maldives. While the previous government generally ignored
the growing drug problem, the current government - elected in late
2008 - has made tackling the issue a major policy initiative.
Despite the fact that the country is located near major illicit
opium producing countries in Asia, it is not known to serve as a
major transshipment route. Narcotics are generally smuggled via
small craft into the country from South India for domestic use.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

4. The lead agency for counternarcotics efforts is the Drug
Enforcement Department - part of the Maldives Police - headquartered
in the capital city of Male'. In 2009, the Drug Enforcement
Department arrested two of the large scale drug dealers (out of the
six known major dealers) and carried on over 200 drug sting
operations across many of the Atolls. The Customs Department works
closely with the police on interdiction cases, with officials
stationed at the ports. Customs also uses a small number of speed
boats to monitor the country's massive coastline.

5. The Maldivian Police continue to work closely with the Customs
Service to curtail illicit drug supplies and use in the country. In
2009, Maldivian Officials arrested 2363 persons for possession of
narcotics. In part due to the GOM's stepped-up efforts (including
UN-funded public information campaigns), Maldivian Police have
stated that the number of new drug users went down by 43% compared
to previous years. In 2009, Customs and the Police seized a total
of 12.56 kg valued at Maldivian Rufiyaa 11 million (U.S. dollars
830,000) of heroin, cannabis, benzodiazepine, ketamine and small
amounts of cocaine.

6. In December, the Maldivian Customs intercepted over 5 kg of
ketamine (and small amounts of cocaine) at the Male' International
Airport. An Indian national, with an onward flight bound for
Indonesia, was arrested on the spot. Another flight from India
earlier in 2009 was found to contain 1.04kg of cannabis and 0.7 kg
of heroine in a vegetable consignment bound for Male'.

ADDITIONAL GOVERNMENT EFFORTS

7. The present Maldivian Government established a Narcotics Control
Council within the President's Office and has submitted legislation
to the Parliament to curb drug use and trafficking. The Health
Ministry is tasked with treatment and prevention programs and the
Ministry of Education is currently developing - with the assistance
of the United Nations and the Colombo Plan - an in-school
anti-narcotics curriculum. The Maldives also continues to work with
the Colombo Plan's Drug Advisory Program, as well as with the United
Nations, the European Union, and the USG to combat drug use in the
country. A rehabilitation program has been in existence since 1977,
however the country has limited after-care treatment programs.

U.S. POLICY INITIATIVES AND PROGRAMS

8. The USG remained committed to helping GOM officials develop
increased capacity and cooperation for counternarcotics issues. The
USG also continued its support of a regional counternarcotics

COLOMBO 00000079 002 OF 002


program, including through the Colombo Plan, which conducts regional
and country-specific training seminars, fostering communication and
cooperation throughout Asia. The U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration attach based in New Delhi visited Male' in November
2009 to coordinate anti-drug trafficking activities with the local
police and Customs.

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