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1998 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report

Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
United States Department of State
February 26, 1999


DENMARK

I. Summary

Denmark's strategic geographical location and status as Northern Europe's primary transportation hub make it an attractive drug transit country. The Danes cooperate closely with their Scandinavian neighbors and the EU to check the transit of illicit drugs, and Denmark plays an increasingly important role in helping the Baltic States combat narcotics trafficking. While quantities of drugs seized in Denmark are relatively small, Danish authorities assume that their open border agreements and high volume of international trade allow some drug shipments to transit Denmark undetected. Within Denmark, heroin use increased in 1998, while amphetamines and ecstasy remained popular among a growing number of younger Danes. Athletic scandals involving illegal steroids and other performance enhances received major media and political attention this year.

II. Status of Country

Drug traffickers utilize Denmark's excellent transportation network to bring illicit drugs to Denmark for domestic use and transshipment to other Nordic countries. There is evidence that drugs from Russia, the Baltic countries, and Central Europe pass through Denmark en route to other EU states and the US, although the amount flowing to the U.S. is relatively small.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1998

Policy Initiatives. Denmark complies with the requirements of all-major international conventions and agreements regarding narcotics. Denmark also contributes toward the development of common counternarcotics standards within the international organizations of which it is a member. Denmark's interagency group responsible for monitoring the distribution of precursor chemicals reported at least one infraction in 1998. Denmark continues to provide training, financing, and coordination assistance to the three Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), principally to improve interdiction efforts.

Accomplishments. Danish police continued their aggressive counternarcotics efforts in 1998. Because of public outcry over the release of arrested drug dealers in 1996, many of whom were foreigners, Danish law was amended to make it easier to place drug dealers behind bars and to expel foreign dealers who illegally reside in Denmark. Danish authorities view narcotics- related money laundering as a manageable problem in spite of Denmark's role as a major financial center. Banking procedures are transparent and are subject to government review to minimize the likelihood of illegal use of the banking system. Danish law permits forfeiture and seizure in drug-related criminal cases. Authorities strongly uphold existing asset seizure and forfeiture laws and cooperate with foreign authorities in such cases. Statistics on asset seizure are not available and, in any event, are not regarded as significant by the Danish government. Denmark promotes international cooperation on chemical precursors and worked actively with U.S. authorities to stop diversion of precursors in 1998.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Danish cocaine and amphetamines seizures were down in 1998, reflecting increasingly effective narcotics control efforts. Through October 1998, Denmark confiscated 29.1 kilograms of cocaine, 16.4 kilograms of amphetamines, and 18.1 kilograms of heroin. Danish customs officials in November 1998 captured a 30 kilogram shipment of heroin, one of the largest seizures ever. Danish authorities believe the heroin shipment was destined for Norway and from there for distribution across Scandinavia. Denmark continues to bolster the interdiction capabilities of Baltic States. On the Island of Bornholm, Denmark's easternmost territory, there is a continuing project involving the customs services and police, in cooperation with the Royal Danish Navy, to interdict narcotics, other smuggled contraband, and illegal migrants.

Corruption. The USG has no knowledge of any involvement by Danish government officials in drug production or sale, or in the laundering of their proceeds.

Agreements and Treaties. Denmark ratified the 1988 UN drug convention in 1991 and signed on to the enabling legislation for the European Drug Unit (EDU) in 1997. The USG has concluded a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) with the Government of Denmark. Denmark participated in the Dublin Group and EU meetings on related topics.

Drug Flow/Transit. Drugs transit Denmark between its neighbors and, in small quantities, to the U.S. according to law enforcement sources in Denmark. See the accompanying table for transit seizures by narcotic substance.

Demand Reduction. Denmark's Ministry of Health estimates that there are between 10,000 and 12,000 drug users in Denmark. The country maintains an extensive counternarcotics education program in schools and youth centers. Drug addicts are treated in a large number of institutions throughout Denmark. In addition to in-patient care at hospitals, outpatient care is also available at hospitals, youth crisis centers, and special outpatient clinics. These programs are free of charge to Danish residents. The government continues to fund programs introduced in 1996 which involve the forced treatment of addicts, i.e., persons who agree to undergo treatment as an alternative to serving prison sentences in certain cases. These programs, however remain small. The government also has tried to declare certain prisons "drug-free," though with mixed success.

Debate on a proposal to permit doctors to supply some addicts with legal heroin continues, but the police vehemently oppose the suggestion, and parliamentary support remains uncertain. An inter-ministerial group is studying the feasibility and desirability of such a program.

The Road Ahead. In the coming year, the Danish authorities plan to increase their seizures of ecstasy pills within Denmark and to work closely with the Norwegians in interdicting heroin bound for Norway via Denmark. The Danes will also continue to build on their formal agreement with other Nordic countries, called Politi Told Nordic (PTN), to share information and cooperate against narcotics trafficking. PTN has already placed a Danish police officer in Lithuania under this program.

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