«United States Department of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs International Narcotics Control Strategy Report ...»
International Regulatory Framework for Chemical Control Preventing the diversion of precursor chemicals from legitimate trade is one of the key goals of the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Specifically, state parties are required under article 12 of the 1988 Convention to monitor international trade in chemicals listed under Tables I and II of the Convention. These tables of chemicals have been regularly updated to account for evolutions in the manufacture of illicit drugs, and state parties are required to share information with one another and with the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) on international transactions involving these chemicals. The Convention further encourages state parties to license all persons and enterprises involved in the manufacture and distribution of listed chemicals, and subsequent resolutions from the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND)—the UN‘s primary narcotic drug policymaking organ—have provided additional guidance to states on how to implement these obligations according to specific best practices. The underlying strategy is to closely monitor the trade in drug precursors and prevent transactions to suspicious customers.
Special Monitoring List: In 1996, the U.S. supported a CND resolution that added a special monitoring list of chemicals that are not included in the Convention but for which substantial evidence exists of their use in illicit drug manufacture. Reporting on these non-listed chemicals is voluntary under international law, but widely implemented in practice under INCB supervision. As with officially controlled chemicals listed in the Table I and II of the 1988 Convention, this special surveillance list is regularly updated to account for evolutions in drug production trends. Still, it takes time to get new near analogues of existing precursors listed and organized criminals vigorously exploit delays and gaps in the listings.
The regulatory framework codified by the United Nations through its conventions and resolutions is the most universally accepted and carries the broadest reach internationally, but it does not exist in isolation.
Regional international bodies also have worked to complement the UN‘s regulatory regime and implement its goals. In February 2004, the European Union (EU) enacted binding legislation to regulate chemical control monitoring among all of its 27 member states. External trade between the European Union and international actors has been similarly covered since January 2005. This EU legislation has been subsequently enhanced by additional implementing legislation, as well as by less binding measures to promote voluntary cooperation with private industry to implement best-practices for preventing diversion. The United States and the EU have had an agreement in place to cooperate on chemical control issues since 1997, and policy coordination has taken place regularly through bilateral meetings alternating between Washington and Brussels. The EU also has actively collaborated with the U.S. on multilateral chemical control initiatives, including CND resolutions. The Organization of American States also is engaged on the issue of chemical control within the Western Hemisphere.
Diversion Methods From the wide variety of chemicals that are needed for legitimate commercial and pharmaceutical purposes, a relatively small number also can be misused for the production of illegal drugs. Drug traffickers rarely produce these chemicals independently, as this would require advanced technical skills and a sophisticated infrastructure that would be difficult to conceal. Instead, criminals most often illegally divert the chemicals that they need from otherwise licit trade. Diversion from licit trade takes INCSR 2011 Volume 1 Chemical Controls two main forms. The chemicals may be purchased from manufacturers or distributors. This can be done directly by traffickers or through unsuspecting or complicit third parties. Chemical producers also may be complicit in diversion schemes. This is less frequent. Instead, most diversion takes place due to the ability of criminals to exploit gaps in the regulatory frameworks in place to monitor the trade in drug precursors and identify suspicious transactions. The supply chains for chemicals can be very complex, with several intermediary ―traders‖ located between a manufacturer and an end user. This complex supply chain makes it more difficult for governments to pick the right point to intervene with regulatory control regimes and licensing.
International trade in precursor chemicals can be exploited by traffickers through a variety of means.
Chemicals can be imported legally into drug-producing countries with official import permits and subsequently diverted—sometimes smuggled into neighboring drug-producing countries. In parts of the developing world, traffickers often pick the path of least resistance and arrange for chemicals to be shipped to countries where no viable regulatory systems exist for their control.
INCSR 2011 Volume 1 Chemical Controls Criminals also employ stratagems to conceal their true identities and the controlled chemicals that they require. Often, traffickers conceal their identity by using front-companies or by misusing the names of well-known legitimate companies. They also obtain chemicals by bribing or blackmailing the employees of legitimate companies. In some cases they disguise the destination or nature of chemical shipments by mislabeling or re-packaging controlled chemicals as unregulated materials.
Traffickers also obtain precursors through theft, either from storage or during transit. Criminals have often employed violence to steal chemical supplies.
In the past year, transshipment or smuggling from third countries into drug producing countries has increased dramatically. This tactic is emerging as a key method in response to the increasing efforts of more countries to implement legislative and administrative controls to prevent diversion from legitimate commercial trade.
Since 2008 there has been a dramatic increase in criminal efforts to take greater advantage of finished pharmaceutical products. This includes extracting precursor chemical ingredients, particularly those containing pseudoephedrine, a key precursor for methamphetamine. Pharmaceutical preparations are not controlled by the 1988 UN Drug Control Convention, and can be traded internationally without being subject to the reporting requirements in place for raw or bulk chemicals.
INCSR 2011 Volume 1 Chemical Controls Major Chemical Source Countries and Territories The countries included in this section are those with large chemical manufacturing or trading industries that have significant trade with drug-producing regions, and those countries with significant chemical commerce susceptible to diversion domestically for smuggling into neighboring drug-producing countries. Designation as a major chemical source country does not indicate a country lacks adequate chemical control legislation and the ability to enforce it. Rather, it recognizes that the volume of chemical trade with drug-producing regions, or proximity to them, makes these countries the sources of the greatest quantities of chemicals liable to diversion. The United States, with its large chemical industry and extensive trade with drug-producing regions, is included on the list.
Many other countries manufacture and trade in chemicals, but not on the same scale, or with the broad range of precursor chemicals, as the countries in this section. The next section focuses on illicit drug manufacturing. Each of these two sections is broken down by region.
The Americas Argentina is one of South America‘s largest producers of precursor chemicals and remains a source of potassium permanganate. Argentina does not appear to be either a source or transit country for diverted acetic anhydride. The GOA has restricted any imports or exports of ephedrine. The Government of Argentina (GOA) has enhanced its precursor chemical regulatory framework as well as the effectiveness of its port and border controls and related criminal investigations in combating the traffic in precursor chemicals. Argentine and U.S. law enforcement officials continue to collaborate against attempts by drug traffickers to illicitly import or transship such chemicals.
Argentina is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and has laws meeting the Convention's requirements for record keeping, import and export licensing, and the authority to suspend shipments.
Presidential decrees have placed controls on precursor and essential chemicals, requiring that all manufacturers, importers or exporters, transporters, and distributors of these chemicals be registered with the Secretariat of Planning for the Prevention of Drug Addiction and Drug Trafficking (SEDRONAR).
Argentine law prohibits the transport of nonregistered precursor chemicals.
SEDRONAR employs a three pillar precursor chemical control system. First, all commercial entities that utilize these chemicals must register them in a National Precursor Chemical Register. Second, all entities must submit quarterly reports regarding the status/movement of registered chemicals. Finally, all registered chemicals are subject to audits by SEDRONAR‘s Precursor Chemical Diversion Control and Prosecution Unit. SEDRONAR performed 378 audits between January and November 2010, resulting in the imposition of 141 administrative sanctions and 16 criminal prosecutions.
Argentina restricted the importation and exportation of ephedrine, both as a raw material and as an elaborated product, in 2008 resulting in a substantial decrease in legal ephedrine imports in both 2009 and
2010. In addition, the GOA has taken steps to implement United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs Resolution 49/3. In August 2010, Argentina operationalized the International Narcotics Control Board‘s online Pre-Export Notification (PEN) system. SEDRONAR is responsible for data input of both precursor chemicals and pharmaceutical preparations into the PEN system.
Brazil Brazil is the largest producer of chemicals in South America, including many common precursor chemicals listed in Tables One and Two of the 1988 U.N. Drug Convention. Brazil also imports significant quantities of chemicals to meet its industrial needs. The Government of Brazil (GOB) created INCSR 2011 Volume 1 Chemical Controls a chemical control law in 2001, establishing control and inspection norms for monitoring chemicals used in chemical products that potentially could be used to process narcotics. The GOB controls processing, storage, buying, selling, and transfer of 143 chemicals produced in Brazil, including potassium permanganate, acetic anhydride, ephedrine, and pseudoephedrine. The Brazilian Federal Police (DPF) registers 25,000 chemical handlers, who obtain a license and pay an annual fee. Brazil is implementing UNCND Resolution 49/3.
Since 2008, the National Computerized System of Chemical Control (SIPROQUIM) has monitored the chemicals most often used in cocaine processing. Brazil also participates in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-supported Operation Sin Fronteras, a regional chemical control initiative with eight other South American countries.
On April 29, 2010, the DPF, seized nine tons of sulfuric acid in Guaira, Parana, near the Bolivian border.
Canada Canada continues to be a destination and transit country for the precursor chemicals used to produce synthetic drugs, particularly methamphetamine and MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or ecstasy). According to the 2010 annual report of the Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada (CISC), Canadian-sourced pseudoephedrine has been found in raids on some clandestine U.S. methamphetamine labs. Though domestic methamphetamine use in Canada has "stabilized," according to CISC, production has continued to increase to supply export markets. CISC asserts that criminals export "significant quantities" of methamphetamine to the U.S., while to a lesser extent also supplying Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Canadian officials find that smugglers illicitly br ing MDMA precursor chemicals into Canada from China and India "on a regular basis." The shortage of MDMA precursor chemicals in Europe is "not currently affecting the illicit manufacture of ecstasy in Canada," assessed CISC.
The U.S. maintains a close partnership with Canada in countering the scourge of synthetic drugs. Canada takes seriously its responsibility to curb the diversion of precursor chemicals required for methamphetamine production for both domestic and U.S. markets. Canadian-U.S. joint law enforcement operations have been fruitful in disrupting drug and currency smuggling operations along both sides of the border. U.S.-Canadian law enforcement cooperation and Canada‘s efforts to strengthen its chemical control laws and enforcement have helped significantly to reduce the amount of Canadian-sourced pseudoephedrine discovered in clandestine U.S. methamphetamine labs. Canadian officials confirm, however, that domestic production of methamphetamine and MDMA continues to increase. USG and Canadian officials continue to work closely with Canadian partners to identify and dismantle MDMA and methamphetamine laboratories.
Canada is a party to the 1988 UN Convention and complies with its record-keeping requirements.
Canada participates in Project Prism, targeting synthetic drug chemicals, and is a member of the North American working group. While an active participant actively the Government of Canada supports Project Cohesion when possible.
Chile Chile has a large petrochemical industry engaged in the manufacturing, importation, and exportation of thousands of chemical products, including many common precursor chemicals listed in Tables One and Two of the 1988 U.N. Drug Convention. Chile has no known seizures of potassium permanganate or acetic anhydride, but it has been a source of ephedrine for methamphetamine processing in Mexico. Chile is also a potential source of precursor chemicals used in coca processing in Peru and Bolivia.