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Saturday, 03 September, Year 3 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu






REF: STATE 155088

This report provides Embassy Bucharest,s input for the illegal drug and chemical control sections of the 2006-2007 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (Reftel).

1. Summary: Romania serves as a transit country for narcotics, as it lies along the well-established Northern Balkan route that is used to move heroin and opium from Southwest Asia to Central and Western Europe. Romania also sits astride a developing route for the transit of synthetic drugs from Western and Northern Europe to the East. However, while Romania is not a major source of production or cultivation of narcotics, it has begun to serve as a source of amphetamines and is used as a transit point for South American cocaine destined for Western Europe. In 2006, Romania made several major drug seizures. Romania worked to implement its 2005-2008 National Anti-Drug Strategy and is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Status of country
2. Romania lies along what is commonly referred to as the Northern Balkan Route, and thus it is a transit country for narcotics, mainly heroin and opium, moving from Southwest Asia, through Turkey and Bulgaria and onward toward Central and Western Europe. Romania finds itself along a developing route for the transit of synthetic drugs from Western and Northern Europe to the East. A large amount of precursor chemicals transit Romania from West European countries toward Turkey. Romania is increasingly becoming a storage location for illicit drugs prior to shipment to other European countries. Heroin and marijuana are the primary drugs consumed in Romania. However, the use of synthetic drugs such as MDMA (Ecstasy)has increased among segments of the country's youth as economic conditions improve. Officials also predict an increase in domestic heroin consumption.

Country actions against drugs in 2006
3. Policy initiatives: Romania continues to build an integrated system of prevention and treatment services at the national and local level, with 47 Anti-Drug Prevention and Counseling Centers throughout the country. The General Directorate for Countering Organized Crime and Anti-Drug (DGCCOA) operates at both the central and territorial level, with 15 brigades assigned next to the local Appeal Courts and 41 county offices for combating narcotics and organized crime. Joint teams of police and social workers carry out educational and preventative programs against drug consumption. Romania plays an active role in the Bucharest-based Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) Center's Anti-Drug Task Force.

Law enforcement efforts: In the first six months of 2006, Romanian authorities seized 162 kilograms of illegal drugs, including 23 kilograms of heroin, 10 kilograms of cocaine, 94 kilogram of mescaline, 26 kilograms of cannabis and 11,133 amphetamine and derivates pills. During the first six months of 2006, approximately 1218 individuals were investigated for drugs and precursors trafficking, possession and consumption. This was an increase of 11.6 percent compared with the same period in 2005. 315 individuals were indicted and 228 were held under preventive arrest. The Romanian Courts convicted 349 individuals (most of these were indicted in 2005 and before), of which 329 were sent to prison and 20 given a fine.

Corruption: Corruption remains a serious problem within the Romanian government, including within the judiciary and law enforcement branches. The Code of Ethics for police officers provides strict rules for the professional conduct of law enforcement. It specifically addresses corruption, use of force, torture, and illegal behavior. Unlawful or abusive acts may trigger criminal or disciplinary sanctions. In conjunction with the Code of Ethics, the government created a permanent commission within the Ministry of the Administration and Interior to monitor compliance with the code. Also, the newly created Anti-corruption unit within the Ministry of the Administration and Interior conducted several internal undercover operations targeting corruption among police officers.

The Romanian government does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions as a

matter of government policy. We do not believe that senior officials within Romania engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of such drugs or substances. We have no information indicating that senior officials launder proceeds from illegal transactions.

Agreements and treaties: Romania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. An extradition treaty is in force between Romania and the United States. A mutual legal assistance treaty came into force in October 2001 and is in the process of being renegotiated in accordance with constitutional amendments that came into effect in January 2004, making it possible for Romania to extradite its own citizens. Romania is party to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized crime, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

Cultivation/production: For the first time, in 2006, cultivated green cactus (San Pedro), containing high levels of mescaline, was discovered for sale in Baia Mare.

Drug Flow/transit: Illicit narcotics from Afghanistan and Central Asia enter Romania both from the north and east, and as well as its southern border with Bulgaria. Land transportation methods include both cargo and passenger vehicles. However, drugs, primarily heroin, are also brought into the country via the Black Sea port of Constanta on commercial maritime ships and across the border with Moldova, as well as via the country's international airports. Once in Romania, the drugs move either northwest through Hungary, or west through Serbia. Police estimate that 80 percent of the drugs entering Romania continue on to Western Europe. Romania also is becoming an increasingly important route for the transit of synthetic drugs from Western and Northern Europe to the East.

Domestic programs: While consumption of narcotics in Romania has historically been low, this appears to be slowly changing; the Romanian government has become increasingly concerned about domestic drug consumption. Approximately, 800 drug prevention programs were initiated during the first half of 2006, including programs against drug consumption in the families, in schools or in the community. These were conducted in cooperation with local authorities, NGO,s, religious organizations and private companies. Detoxification programs are offered through some hospitals, but treatment is limited. These programs are hampered by a lack of resources and poorly trained staff.

U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
4. Bilateral Cooperation. In 2006, the United States provided $1,724,000 in assistance to further develop Romania,s activities against cyber-crime, narcotics trafficking, as well as to reform the criminal justice system, combat emerging crimes and counter official corruption. This year,s agreement covers two projects that to continue to help Romania's prosecutorial and judicial institutions to effectively prosecute corruption, trafficking in persons (TIP), organized crime, terrorism and other crimes ($825,000). They also develop law enforcement capabilities to effectively combat computer crime cases and narcotics violations at both the national and local levels and to support the Romanian National Police in its effort to decentralize decision-making authority ($849,000).

Romania also benefited in 2006 from approximately $900,000 in U.S. assistance to the Bucharest-based Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) Center for Combating Trans-border Crime, which more broadly supports the twelve participating states in the Balkan region and focuses on trans-border crime, with one task force directed specifically towards combating the narcotics trade. The United States is a permanent observer country at the SECI Center, with a DEA Liaison Officer who assists in coordinating narcotics information sharing, maintains liaison with participating law enforcement agencies, and coordinates with the DGCCOA on case-related issues. A Resident Legal Advisor from the U.S. Department of Justice is assigned to the SECI Center, providing guidance on drug trafficking investigations.

Data tables
5. Not applicable.

6. Chemical control. The quantity of chemical precursors

seized in the first half of 2006 is 600 kilograms, 504 liters and 153 pills. Most of these chemicals were seized by anti-narcotic squads from research institutes, because they lacked appropriate legal documents. No clandestine labs manufacturing drugs were discovered and only one illicit plant culture. In the first six months of 2006, anti-narcotic squads discovered in the possession of the persons involved in trafficking and consumption approximately 1438 pills of methadone, 16 grams of methadone, 60 pills of petidine and 34 pills of codeine. Legislation implemented in late 2005, strengthened legal provisions regarding the use of psychotropic plants, substances and chemicals. The institution in charge of chemical control is the National Agency for Dangerous Substances and Chemicals.

Outlook: Romania has put a serious emphasis on its counter narcotics efforts and cooperation with the USG. The USG believes that cooperation will continue, as the Romanian government has become increasingly concerned about domestic drug consumption. The United States will continue supporting Romania's efforts to strengthen its judicial and law enforcement institutions. Taubman

Category: Breaking News
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