«United States Department of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs International Narcotics Control Strategy Report ...»
Bilateral chemical control cooperation continues between the U.S. and EU member states, and many are participating in and actively supporting voluntary initiatives such as Project Cohesion and Project Prism.
In 2007, the EU established guidelines for private sector operators involved in trading in precursor chemicals, with a view to offering practical guidance on the implementation of the main provisions of EU legislation on precursor chemicals, in particular the prevention of illegal diversion.
Germany and the Netherlands, with large chemical manufacturing or trading sectors and significant trade with drug-producing areas, are considered the major European source countries and points of departure for exported precursor chemicals. Other European countries have important chemical industries, but the level of chemical trade with drug-producing areas is not as large and broad-scale as these countries.
Belgium and the United Kingdom are also included this year because of their large exports of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
Belgium INCSR 2011 Volume 1 Chemical Controls Belgium has a substantial pharmaceutical product sector. The country has limited manufacture of licit methamphetamine precursors and it is not a final destination for international shipments of these precursors. The illicit ephedrine diversion market is controlled by Mexican traffickers who purchase both legal (i.e., cold medicine and dietary supplements) and illegal ephedrine, and ship it to Mexico. It is then used to produce methamphetamine for distribution in the U.S. Increased regulations in the U.S. appear to have led to increased transshipments in Belgium and other Western European countries of ephedrine and other methamphetamine precursors through their countries. The Belgian authorities reported the seizure of 13,400,000 ephedrine pills in 2 incidents during 2008. Data for 2010 is unavailable. Belgian authorities cooperate with the US on international controlled deliveries (ICD) to the destinations, or by seizing the shipments.
Germany Germany continues to be a leading manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, and in 2009 was ranked number two in exports of both ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in 2009. All types of precursor and essential chemicals are manufactured and/or sold by the vast German chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Germany is a large manufacturer of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine used in its large licit pharmaceutical industry and exported to other countries. The essential chemicals pseudoephedrine and ephedrine are regularly diverted to Mexico and Central America for use in the production of methamphetamine, which is then smuggled into the United States by the various Mexican drug cartels.
Another example of a highly diverted precursor chemical is Acetic Anhydride (AA) which is diverted to Afghanistan for the use in the production of heroin. In August 2010, German and US authorities have begun a cooperative effort to gain an in-depth understanding of the AA commercial trade industry as it relates to the European and global market in order to identify and target drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) diverting legitimate AA supplies.
Germany is a party to the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and implements its chemicals control provisions. Germany‘s chemical control laws are based on EU law and the Federal Precursor Control Act. Although Germany‘s developed chemical sector makes the country susceptible to precursor chemical diversion, German legislation tightly controls the movement of chemicals throughout the country. Cooperation between chemical control officials and the chemical industry is a key element in Germany‘s chemical control strategy.
The restructuring of the EU precursor control regime in 2005 led to required amendments to German law.
The amendments, which became effective in 2008, supplement three EU directives by regulating the monitoring of the precursor market by the authorities. The Federal Center for Drugs and Medical Devices is responsible for authorizing the import, export or transit of all precursor chemicals in Germany.
Germany works closely with the USG on chemical control issues, including exchanging information and cooperating both bilaterally and multilaterally, to promote transnational chemical control initiatives.
Germany works closely with the UN‘s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), as an active participant of ongoing UN chemical control operations, such as Project Cohesion (targeting acetic anhydride) and is an active member of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Paris Pact Initiative, an international working group formed to target Afghan heroin.
The Netherlands The Netherlands has a large chemical industrial sector that makes it an attractive location for criminals to attempt to obtain chemicals for illicit drug manufacture. There are large chemical storage facilit ies and Rotterdam is a major chemical shipping port. The Netherlands is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and 1990 European Union Regulations. Trade in precursor chemicals is governed by the 1995 Act to Prevent Abuse of Chemical Substances (WVMC). The law seeks to prevent the diversion of legal chemicals into the illegal sector. Violations of the law can lead to prison sentences (maximum of INCSR 2011 Volume 1 Chemical Controls six years), fines (up to 50,000 Euros), or asset seizures. The Fiscal and Economic Information and Investigation Service (FIOD-ECD) at the Ministry of Finance oversees implementation of the law.
The National Crime Squad‘s synthetic drug unit and the Public Prosecutor‘s Office have strengthened cooperation with countries playing an important role in precursor chemicals used in the manufacture of MDMA. The Netherlands signed an MOU with China concerning chemical precursor investigations.
The Netherlands is an active participant in the INCB/PRISM project‘s taskforce. In November 2009, the Netherlands hosted the two-year Synthetic Drugs Enforcement Conference (Syndec). In 1994, the Netherlands established procedures to maintain records of transactions of an established list of precursor chemicals essential in the production of some illegal drugs. They also renewed their agreement to cooperate on interdiction of narcotics through third-country transit routes, by exchanging, on a police-topolice basis, information such as IP addresses, telephone numbers and, where appropriate, financial information on a regular basis. The Dutch continue to work closely with the United States on precursor chemical controls and investigations. This cooperation includes formal and informal agreements on the exchange of intelligence.
In April 2009, the National Crime Squad‘s Expertise Center on Synthetic Drugs and Precursors (ESDP) established the Precursors Taskforce, which was assigned to gain insight into the most important trends in the market for precursors.
On the basis of the WVMC, trade and industry are committed to report suspect transactions with respect to registered chemicals to a special notification center (WVTC) of the FIOD, which is located with the ESDP. According to the 2009 annual report of the ESDP, the WVTC received 59 reports of suspect transactions in 2009, unchanged from 2008. Of the 59 reports, 33 came from Dutch companies and 26 from foreign companies/authorities. Of the 59 reported transactions, 37 cases were delivered, 13 were not, and nine are unknown.
According to the 2009 ESDP report, one of the most important trends in 2009 was the scarcity of PMK in Dutch criminal circles and, thus, the drop in MDMA production. In 2009, PMK was found on only one occasion, consisting of 40 liters. In 2009, there were four PMK seizures in the Netherlands totaling 207 liters. According to the ESDP, this is a relatively small quantity in view of the 1,946 kilos of amphetamine powder and 466 kilos of amphetamine paste seized in the same year. Pseudoephedrine seizures in 2009 totaled 587 kilos compared to 317 kilos in 2008. According to the ESDP, because there is relatively little methamphetamine production, the Netherlands appears to be a transit country rather than a destination country for pseudoephedrine. Statistics on GHB seizures are lacking since GHB is not listed on the WVMC list.
A second important trend noted by the ESDP in 2009 was the increase in ―designer‖ drugs and other sorts of synthetic drugs. The ESDP was more frequently confronted with substances such as 2c-B, mCPP, methamphetamine, GHB and mephedrone, than in previous years.
The United Kingdom The United Kingdom is one of world‘s largest exporters of ephedrine according to Global Trade Atlas data. In 2009, the UK was again ranked the fifth largest exporter of ephedrine and the fourth largest largest exporter of this precursor that can be used for methamphetamine production.
The UK strictly enforces national precursor chemical legislation in compliance with EU regulations and is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Several small clandestine methamphetamine laboratories have been seized in the UK. DEA‘s London Country Office (LCO) continues to exchange information and training initiatives with several UK law enforcement agencies regarding the threat from methamphetamine.
The Home Office Drug Licensing and Compliance Unit is the regulatory body for precursor chemical control in the UK. In 2008, the Controlled Drugs Regulations (Drug Precursors) (Intra and External INCSR 2011 Volume 1 Chemical Controls Community Trade) were implemented, bringing UK law in line with preexisting EU regulations.
Licensing and reporting obligations are incumbent upon those that engage in commerce of listed substances, and failure to comply with these obligations is a criminal offense.
SOCA and the police have the responsibility to inspect facilities where listed chemicals may be housed, to investigate suspicious licensing requests, and to pursue issues related to terrorism or possible terrorism offenses. Her Majesty‘s Revenue and Customs deals with issues related to imports and exports of listed chemicals.
In 2006, the UK reclassified methamphetamine from a Class B to a Class A drug--the same category as cocaine and opiates. The change has lengthened penalties to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine for possession, and up to life in prison for dealing. Ecstasy consumed in the UK is believed to be manufactured in the Netherlands or Belgium; but some tablet making sites have been found in the north of England. Most illicit amphetamines were imported from continental Europe, but some were manufactured in the UK in limited amounts. While the UK government made the "date rape" drug GHB illegal in 2003, GBL, a close chemical equivalent of GHB, remained uncontrolled. In August 2009, UK Home Secretary Alan Johnson announced that the UK intended to classify both GBL and BZP (Benzodiazepine), another ―party drug‖ as Class C soon. As part of this review the UK also intends to ban synthetic cannabionoids, which are chemicals that are sprayed on herbal smoking products. Often referred to by its street name, ―SPICE‖ has become readily available in the UK. Synthetic drugs continued to originate from Western and Central Europe; amphetamines, Ecstasy, and LSD were again mainly traced to sources in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Poland, with some supplies originating in the UK. The makers rely heavily on precursor chemicals made in China. The UK intercepts the most amphetamine in Europe.
INCSR 2011 Volume 1 Chemical Controls Significant Illicit Drug Manufacturing Countries Asia Afghanistan Afghanistan produces most of the world‘s opium. There are indications that the trend in processing heroin and morphine base by drug traffickers is increasing. However, there is no domestic chemical industry, or legitimate use for acetic anhydride, the primary precursor chemical used in heroin production.
The principal sources are believed to be China, Europe, the Central Asian States and India, but traffickers skillfully hide the sources of their chemicals by re-packaging and false labeling. (Comment: Note that in 2008, Afghanistan informed the INCB that there were no legitimate uses for AA within the country, and GOA would therefore no longer issue permits for any import of AA.) Large quantities of precursor chemicals used in heroin production are illicitly imported into Afghanistan.
According to UNODC, markets and processing facilities are clustered in areas that border Iran, Pakistan and Tajikistan. UNODC has reported that trafficking routes for opiates (which are exported) and precursor chemicals (which are imported) are largely similar.
Afghanistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. However, it lacks the administrative and regulatory infrastructure to comply with the Convention‘s record keeping and other requirements.
Afghan law requires the tracking of precursor substances but the MCN has not created an active registry to record data. And this year, the Government of Afghanistan did not report statistics to the INCB in accordance with Article 12, so the Board was unable to confirm amounts seized.
Progress in this effort requires the establishment of new laws, a system for distinguishing between licit and potentially illicit uses of dual-use chemicals, and a specialized police unit to enforce the new system.