Cablegate: Mozambique: 2007-2008 International Narcotics

Published: Tue 6 Nov 2007 09:45 AM
DE RUEHTO #1287/01 3100945
R 060945Z NOV 07
E.O. 12958: N/A
REF: STATE 136787
I. Summary
1. Mozambique is a transit country for illegal drugs such as
hashish, herbal cannabis, cocaine, and heroin consumed
primarily in Europe, and for mandrax (methaqualone) consumed
primarily in South Africa. Some illicit drug shipments
passing through Mozambique may also find their way to the
United States and Canada. Drug production mostly is limited
to herbal cannabis cultivation and a small but growing number
of mandrax laboratories. Evidence suggests considerable use
of herbal cannabis and limited consumption of "club drugs"
(Ecstasy/MDMA), prescription medicines, and heroin primarily
by the country's urban population. Porous borders, a poorly
policed seacoast, inadequately trained and equipped law
enforcement agencies, and corruption in the police and
judiciary hampered Mozambique's enforcement and interdiction
efforts. The United States, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime
(UNODC), and other donors have established cooperation
programs to improve training of drug control officials and
provide better interdiction and laboratory equipment.
Mozambique is a party to all three UN Drug Control
II. Status of Country
2. Mozambique is not a significant producer of illegal drugs
and not a producer of precursor chemicals. Herbal cannabis
remains the most produced and most consumed drug in the
country. While herbal cannabis for local consumption is
produced throughout the country, seizure quantities and
statistics from 2006 indicate higher levels in Maputo City,
Manica, Sofala, and Cabo Delgado provinces. Limited amounts
are trafficked to neighboring countries, primarily South
Africa. Mozambique's role as a transit country for illicit
drugs and precursors and a favored point of disembarkation in
Africa continues to grow, mostly because of its proximity to
South Africa (the major market for illicit drugs) as well as
weak law enforcement capacity at borders, major seaports, and
airports. Southwest Asian producers ship cannabis resin
(hashish) and synthetic drugs through Mozambique to Europe
and South Africa. Limited quantities of these shipments may
also reach the United States and Canada. Heroin and other
opiate derivatives shipped through Mozambique usually
originate in Southeast Asia and typically transit India,
Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and later Tanzania,
before arriving by small ship or, occasionally, overland to
Mozambique. Many traffickers are of Tanzanian or Pakistani
origin. There were fewer reports of cocaine entering the
country via couriers on international flights from Colombia
and Brazil. Government authorities attribute the decrease to
a change in tactics by traffickers and, to a lesser extent,
more stringent police efforts at airports. However, they also
acknowledge that fewer reports may not represent a decrease
in the overall amount of cocaine entering the country.
3. Government authorities have noted an increase in the use
of heroin and Ecstasy among the urban population. The abuse
of mandrax, which is usually smoked in combination with
cannabis, continues to be a matter of concern for countries
in southern Africa. Shipments of mandrax enter South Africa
from India and China, sometimes after transiting Mozambique.
As of 2007, the country has dropped visa requirements for
citizens of all six neighboring countries, further
complicating interdiction and enforcement efforts.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2007
4. Policy Initiatives - Mozambique's accomplishments in
meeting its goals under the 1988 United Nations Convention
against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and
Psychotropic Substances remain limited. Government resources
devoted to the counternarcotics effort are meager, and little
or no donor funds have been available in recent years. The
Mozambican government carries out drug education programs in
local schools in cooperation with bilateral and multilateral
donors as part of its demand reduction efforts.
5. Law Enforcement Efforts - Mozambique's antidrug brigade
operates in Maputo and reports to the Chief of the Criminal
Investigation Police in the Ministry of Interior. The brigade
suffers from a general lack of resources and is operating at
reduced levels compared with previous years. The brigade has
not received training for several years. Since 2005, a small,
specialized police unit designed to strengthen efforts to
fight organized crime, including narcotics trafficking, has
operated at airports in provincial capitals. In 2006
Mozambican and Brazilian authorities signed a memorandum of
understanding on principles, in preparation for an eventual
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extradition agreement for those convicted of trafficking
drugs between the two countries. From January to June,
Mozambican authorities seized 900 kg of cannabis, 12 tons of
hashish, 1958 mandrax pills, and 3000kg of cocaine. As
interdiction efforts improve at the Maputo airport,
traffickers have used alternate airports, including those of
Beira, Nampula, Quelimane and Vilankulos. Police reported
that in 2006 50 Mozambican and foreign nationals were
arrested, of which 20 were tried, and 7 convicted of drug
trafficking. On several occasions during the year, Mozambican
authorities highlighted a severe lack of resources for
destroying seized drugs, particularly hashish, cannabis, and
6. Corruption - The government does not as a matter of
policy encourage or facilitate the illicit production or
distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, other
controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from
illegal drug transactions, nor were there reports in 2007
that any senior government official was engaged in such
practices. While corruption is pervasive in Mozambique, the
government has continued efforts to prosecute police and
customs officials charged with drug trafficking offenses.
7. Agreements and Treaties - Mozambique is a party to the
1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by
the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic
Substances, and the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit
Traffic in Narcotic Substances. In September 2006, Mozambique
deposited its instrument of ratification on the UN Convention
against Transnational Organized Crime. Mozambique has signed,
but not yet ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption.
8. Cultivation/Production - Cannabis is cultivated primarily
in Maputo City, Manica, Sofala, and Cabo Delgado provinces.
Intercropping is the most common method of production. The
Mozambican government has no reliable estimates of crop size.
Authorities have made efforts in 2007 to eradicate cannabis
crops through controlled burns.
9. Drug Flow/Transit - Assessments of drugs transiting
Mozambique are based upon limited seizure data and the
observations of local and UNODC officials. Mozambique
increasingly serves as a transit country for hashish,
cannabis resin, heroin, and mandrax originating in Southwest
Asia, owing to its porous borders, long and unpatrolled
coastline, lack of resources for interdiction efforts, and
improving transportation links with neighboring countries.
Drugs destined for the South African and European markets
arrive in Mozambique by small ship, mostly in the coastal
provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Sofala, and Inhambane,
before being repackaged and sent by land to neighboring
10. The Maputo corridor border crossing at Ressano
Garcia/Lebombo is an important transit point to South Africa.
Hashish and heroin are also shipped on to Europe, and some
hashish may reach Canada and the United States, but not in
signifcant quantities. Arrests in Brazil, Mozambique, and
South Africa indicate drug couriers trafficked cocaine from
Colombia and Brazil to Mozambique, often through Lisbon, for
onward shipment to South Africa. In addition, Nigerian and
Tanzanian cocaine traffickers have targeted Mozambique as a
gateway to the South African and European markets.
11. Domestic Program/Demand Reduction - The primary
substances of abuse are alcohol, nicotine, and herbal
cannabis. The Mozambican Office for the Prevention and Fight
Against Drugs (GCPCD) reported in 2007 that the use of
heroin, cocaine, and psychotropic "club drugs," such as
Ecstasy and mandrax, was increasing in Mozambique's urban
population. GCPCD maintains an office in each provincial
capital and coordinates a drug prevention and education
program for use in schools and with high risk families; the
program includes plays and lectures in schools, churches, and
other places where youths gather. It has also provided the
material to a number of local NGOs for use in their drug
education programs. GCPCD received no treatment assistance
from bilateral donors in 2007. Despite an increase in the
number of drug users, government funding and resources are
scarce (the GCPCD operated on a budget of approximately
$45,000 in 2007), limiting abuse and treatment options. The
Ministry of Health does not have a specific program to assist
drug abusers; those seeking assistance are referred to the
Psychiatric Hospital.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
12. Bilateral Cooperation - The United States continues to
sponsor Mozambican law enforcement officials and prosecutors
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to attend regional training programs at the International Law
Enforcement Academy (ILEA) for Africa in Botswana. Law
enforcement officials have also received training at ILEA in
New Mexico. The United States has supported the police
sciences academy near Maputo, through training and technical
assistance in the areas of drug identification and
investigation, as well as other areas of criminal sciences
including fingerprint identification, forensic photography,
and the identification of fraudulent documents. The
assistance included construction of a forensic laboratory and
the supply of related forensic analysis equipment.
Additionally, technical assistance programs at the police
academy also focus on methods to foster better relations
between the community and the police. USAID provides training
support to the Attorney General's Central Office for the
Combat of Corruption (GCCC), formerly the anticorruption
unit. In October 2007, an assessment team from the State
Department's Office of Anti-terrorism Assistance visited to
assess appropriate assistance levels for improving the
capabilities of Mozambican security forces to combat
terrorism. Part of this assessment included an evaluation of
security capabilities at the land border station at Ressano
Garcia, the Maputo seaport, and Maputo,s international
airport. Also, the USG provided training to guards and
senior officers of the Mozambican Border Guards in techniques
of securing borders, managing border crossing (document
checking, inspections) at two different locations within
Mozambique. Advanced training is scheduled to take place in
13. The Road Ahead - U.S. assistance in support of the GCCC
will continue in 2007. In October a short-term regional legal
advisor arrived to work with the unit and other judicial
offices for a period of several months through the Department
of Justice Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and
Training program. Additionally, efforts to improve
Mozambique's border security capabilities continue. Building
on the success of the initial training, the USG will sponsor
additional basic and advanced border security courses for
Mozambican border guards. Inspection materials, vehicles and
alternate transportation options, equipment for distant
posts, and computer equipment will also be supplied to border
guards to assist in putting into practice the techniques
taught in the training courses. The U.S. military has also
provided shallow draft vessels for limited coastal security
work in conjunction with USCG training on ship/vessel
boarding and search and seizure techniques. The GRM would
benefit from increased funding for counternarcotics and drug
treatment efforts and should continue its focus on reducing
corruption to ensure that progress with its narcotics control
efforts continues.
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