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«United States Department of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs International Narcotics Control Strategy Report ...»

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Chile has chemical control laws; however, enforcement is difficult due to procedural requirements. For example, CONACE, Chile‘s national drug control commission and a part of the Ministry of Interior, is the regulatory agency for chemicals often utilized to produce cocaine. However, CONACE does not have sufficient personnel to adequately review chemical purchases and movement. In addition, CONACE does INCSR 2011 Volume 1 Chemical Controls not have police powers, and must coordinate with law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to effectively investigate, arrest, and prosecute cases. Law enforcement agencies are limited in their ability to conduct proactive investigative measures without coordinating with prosecutors and CONACE. That said, many Chilean law enforcement entities, such as the Carabineros, Policia de Investigaciones (PDI), and Customs, have specialized chemical diversion units and dedicated personnel assigned with the responsibility for investigating chemical and pharmaceutical diversion cases.

On April 28, 2010, the PDI Chemical Investigative Unit, with in coordination with DEA, seized approximately 15,000 kilograms of sodium bicarbonate, 1,500 liters of acetone, and 40 kilograms of sulfuric acid. This operation resulted in three arrests and is the largest seizure of chemicals by Chilean law enforcement to date. Chilean government sources indicate the seizure of illegal pharmaceuticals reached an all time high in 2010, increasing 793 percent over previously reported numbers, with respect to the number of pills seized.

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 from DEA to hire more inspectors so it can provide stronger oversight and regulation of the petrochemical industry.

Chemical industry compliance investigators work with DEA officials to identify suspect chemicals (potassium permanganate, sulfuric acid, acetone, ether, calcium chloride, etc.) that are often diverted in the Southern Cone for the production of cocaine base and cocaine hydrochloride. The majority of chemicals come from India and China, and the diversion of such chemicals is primarily directed at Bolivia, Peru, and Mexico. Chemicals destined for Peru and Bolivia most often are transported by land, while chemicals sent to Mexico are transported via air cargo and maritime shipments.

The government of Chile continued to make ephedrine diversion a major priority for 2010. On November 3, 2010, the Ministry of Health sent a government decree to the Comptroller General with the objective of banning the sale of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. It is expected that this decree will be signed by President Pinera. According to Chile‘s most recent International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) statistics, as of October 19, 2010, Chile estimates the size of its licit domestic market for ephedrine to be 251 kilograms and pseudoephedrine to be 5,000 kilograms.

Mexico Significant methamphetamine production continues in Mexico and importations of precursor chemicals into Mexico are on the rise. The GOM outlawed imports of pseudoephedrine (except for liquid pseudoephedrine for hospital use) in 2008. In November 2009, the GOM enhanced its regulatory laws pertaining to the import of precursor chemicals, which tightened the regulations for imports of phenyl acetic acid, its salts and derivatives, methylamine, hydriodic acid, and red phosphorous. In June of 2010, the GOM enhanced the category of the aforementioned chemicals in accordance with the November 2009 law, changing the category from essential chemicals to precursor chemicals. Potassium Permanganate and Acetic Anhydride are not regulated in Mexico.

However drug trafficking organizations sought new avenues to circumvent authorities in order to obtain and produce methamphetamine, after a ban was placed on pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, prohibiting their import and use, drug trafficking organization. They developed new trafficking routes through Central and South America, substituted new chemicals that have less controls, and sought ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in tablet or preparation vice bulk form. Operation PILA—an INCB led operation initiated in 2009 revealed that Mexico was the destination of many suspect ephedrine and pseudoephedrine shihpments.

INCSR 2011 Volume 1 Chemical Controls During 2010, the quantity of chemicals seized as reported by the Government of Mexico (GOM) totaled over 818.6 metric tons (MT). This included: potassium phenyl acetate (288 MT), ethyl phenyl acetate (218 MT), ethyl phenyl alcohol (147.6 MT), esters of phenyl acetic acid (80 MT), tartaric acid (40 MT), acetic acid (32 MT), phenyl acetic acid (9 MT), piperonal (4 MT). All of these are considered U.S. List I chemicals.

Imports of both precursor and essential chemicals are limited by the GOM to specific ports of entry.

Mexico has a total of 49 ports of entry, of which only 17 are authorized for importing essential chemicals.

Among these 17 ports, only four are authorized for importing precursor chemicals - Nuevo Laredo (land port), Port of Veracruz (Veracruz), Port of Manzanillo (Colima), and the Mexico City Benito Juárez International Airport (AICM) Mexico City, Mexico.

While the importation of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine is banned in Mexico, traffickers continue to illicitly import these precursor chemicals. During 2010, approximately 298 kg of PSE and 5,970 kg of ephedrine were seized at the ports of Veracruz, Manzanillo, and AICM. However, based on the number of clandestine laboratories that were dismantled by the GOM (approximately 110) during 2010, phenyl-2propanone (P-2-P) is the primary production method for methamphetamine.

The majority of ephedrine destined for Mexico is supplied by sources in China, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Thailand, India, Bangladesh, and the United States. Drug traffickers in Mexico now substitute ephedrine and/or pseudoephedrine with phenyl acetic acid (PAA), which enters Mexico in large quantities from suppliers in the Netherlands, Bulgaria, and China. The PGR has also detected shipments entering Mexico from the United States. The import, export, and trade of PAA are regulated according to an agreement issued by Mexico‘s Health Secretariat in 1998. In May 2010, officials seized 88 tons of the ethyl phenyl acetate precursor chemical used to make methamphetamines at the Port of Manzanillo, representing the largest single seizure of the chemical. The chemical was found in five shipping containers sent from China.

Acetic Anhydride has been identified at clandestine laboratories producing methamphetamine; however, the quantities are small, consisting of one or two barrels (200-liter capacity). Due to the lack of regulation of potassium permanganate by the GOM, any seizures of this product as an import chemical are not identified in statistics.

A strong bilateral working relationship between USG and GOM authorities continues involving information exchange and operational cooperation. The two governments also cooperate to convey best practices to Central American countries that have become affected by the trafficking of precursor chemicals. Mexico is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and has laws and regulations that meet the Convention's chemical control requirements.

The United States The United States manufactures and/or trades in all 23 chemicals listed in Tables I and II of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. It is a party to the Convention and has laws and regulations meeting its chemical control provisions.

The basic U.S. chemical control law is the Chemical Diversion and Trafficking Act of 1988. This law and 6 subsequent chemical control amendments were all designed as amendments to U.S. controlled substances laws, rather than stand-alone legislation. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is responsible for administering them. In addition to registration and record keeping requirements, the legislation requires traders to file import/export declarations at least 15 days prior to shipment of regulated chemicals. DEA uses the 15-day period to determine if the consignee has a legitimate need for the chemical. Diversion investigators and special agents work closely with exporting and receiving country officials in this process. If legitimate end-use cannot be determined, the legislation gives DEA the authority to stop shipments.

INCSR 2011 Volume 1 Chemical Controls U.S. legislation also requires chemical traders to report to DEA suspicious transactions such as those involving extraordinary quantities, unusual methods of payment, etc. Close cooperation has developed between the U.S. chemical industry and DEA in the course of implementing the legislation. Criminal penalties for chemical diversion are strict; the penalties for some chemical trafficking offenses involving methamphetamine are tied to the quantities of drugs that could have been produced with the diverted chemicals. Persons and companies engaged in chemical diversion have been aggressively and routinely subjected to civil and criminal prosecution and revocation of DEA registration.

The U.S. has played a leading role in the design, promotion and implementation of cooperative multilateral chemical control initiatives. The USG also actively works with other concerned countries, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) to develop information sharing procedures to better control pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, the principal precursors for methamphetamine production. USG officials participate in the task forces for both Project Cohesion and Project Prism. It also has established close operational cooperation with counterparts in major chemical manufacturing and trading countries. This cooperation includes information sharing in support of chemical control programs and in the investigation of diversion attempts.

Asia China China has one of the world's largest chemical industries, producing large quantities of chemicals that can be used for illicit drug manufacture such as acetic anhydride, potassium permanganate, piperonylmethylketone (PMK) and pseudoephedrine and ephedrine. China remains a major producer of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Many international law enforcement agencies believe that large-scale methamphetamine producers in other Asian countries and Mexico use Chinese-produced ephedrine and pseudoephedrine as a precursor. Numerous examples from criminal investigations confirm this suspicion. Diverted Chinese precursor chemicals may sustain synthetic drug production in other countries as far away as Mexico, Belgium, Indonesia, and the Netherlands. Although China enacted more stringent precursor chemical control laws in November 2005 and is engaged in multilateral and bilateral efforts to stop diversion from its chemical production sector, it has not yet found a way to effectively prevent diversion of precursor chemicals in its large chemical industry.

There is a widespread consensus among law enforcement authorities in Asia that large-scale production of methamphetamine, most notably in super- and mega-labs in Asia and the Pacific Rim, use precursor chemicals produced in China. Production of illicit synthetic drugs for both the domestic and foreign markets primarily occurs in southeastern provinces such as Fujian, Zhejiang, and Guangdong.

The PRC produces and monitors all 23 of the chemicals on the tables included in the 1988 UN Drug Convention. China continues to closely cooperate with the United States and other concerned countries in implementing a system of pre-export notification for dual-use precursor chemicals. China strictly regulates the import and export of precursor chemicals.

In 2010, several significant steps were taken. The Chinese Supreme People‘s Court, the Supreme People‘s Procuratorate, and MPS issued a set of legal guidelines to target illicit drug manufacture and set of guidelines and regulations on precursor chemical administration. Similarly the State Food and Drug Administration issued a set of guidelines to increase monitoring of ephedrine and its preparations. In a separate effort the Chinese Government is also increasing restrictions on online transactions of drug precursor. Specifically, individuals are banned from selling precursor chemicals over the Internet. Only companies having a license to produce and sell these chemicals are allowed to publish sales information online. Operators of business websites are required to carry out strict checks of precursor chemical INCSR 2011 Volume 1 Chemical Controls suppliers, submit photocopies of their licenses to Internet service providers, and publish the formal name of suppliers and their license numbers on the website.

In China, 137 cases were filed in 2009 related to a total of 649.1 tons of raw materials seized throughout the year. From 2006 to 2009, Chinese police cracked 1,554 cases of illegal trade in precursor chemicals and confiscated 3,814 tons of such chemicals. Between January and May 2010, Chinese People's Armed Police confiscated 243 tons of precursor chemicals.

Despite controls, regulatory loopholes are used to purchase precursor chemicals illegally to process drugs.

In January 2010, health authorities urged healthcare professionals across the country to improve the clinical application and administration of narcotics and other specially controlled medicines. The specially controlled medicines include narcotics, psychotropic substances, toxic drugs for medical use and radioactive drugs, according to China's Pharmaceutical Administration Law revised in 2001.

China cooperates in international chemical control initiatives such as Project Cohesion, which targets the diversion of potassium permanganate and acetic anhydride, and Project Prism, which targets the precursor chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of amphetamine-type stimulants. With relation to Project Cohesion, China accounts for 70 percent of the worldwide seizures of potassium permanganate. China continued its participation in the ASEAN and China Cooperative Operations in Response to Dangerous Drugs (ACCORD).

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