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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


NORWAY

I. Summary

Drug production remains rare in Norway because of Norway's harsh climate, and Norwegian regulations governing domestic sales, exports and imports of precursor chemicals. Norway is unlikely to become significant in terms of money laundering or precursor chemicals because prohibitive legislation remains in place, and law enforcement is adequate. Norway has, however, become more popular as a transit country for drugs produced in Central/Eastern Europe and Central/South America. The number of drug seizures continued to rise strongly through 1998 with cannabis seizures accounting for the bulk (44 percent) followed by amphetamines (16 percent). While narcotics production remains rare, the police have been stepping up their efforts to track and intercept drugs in transit (e.g., arriving from Central Europe and going to Nordic and other western markets). Norway is implementing various programs for curbing domestic drug abuse; it has ratified the 1988 UN Drug Convention; and it cooperates actively with international counter-narcotics efforts.

II. Status of Country

According to Government of Norway (GON) officials, drug production remains rare in Norway because of Norway's harsh climate, and Norwegian regulations governing domestic sales, exports and imports of precursor chemicals. While Norway has become more popular as a transit country (for drugs produced in Central/Eastern Europe and Central/South America), GON officials noted that the rapid increase in narcotics seizures by the police and customs has helped to curb the problem. Norway is unlikely to become significant in terms of money laundering or precursor chemicals because prohibitive legislation remains in place, and law enforcement is adequate.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1998

Norwegian Counter-Narcotics Initiatives. Norway continues to implement counter-narcotics policy initiatives on several levels. While Norway has not developed an overall counter-narcotics master plan, the Justice Ministry continues implementing an anti-drug action plan to meet the objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The key goals of the ministry's plan are to curb the inward flow of illicit drugs, limit illicit drug production, reduce domestic drug consumption, and coordinate with other ministries the fight against illicit drugs activities and related crimes including money laundering. Norway continues to cooperate closely with police forces in Nordic and other countries on drug cases. The Norwegian customs and excise directorate continues implementing its own anti-drug plan aimed at curbing drug imports and seizing illicit drug money and chemicals used for narcotics production. Customs has established a mobile narcotics control unit (includes sniffing dogs), and is coordinating its efforts with the police and the coast guard.

Norway's Ministry of Health and Social affairs continues to implement (educational and other) programs to reduce drug abuse. Norway's Ministry of Defense implements programs to reduce narcotics use in the armed forces. On local government levels, anti-drug campaigns are being launched. For example, a week-long anti-drug campaign was launched in Oslo on November 18, 1998.

Accomplishments. According to the GON, Norway remains in full compliance with the 1988 UN Drug Convention because Norway's counter-narcotics plans/initiatives progressed as scheduled, anti-drug legislation was strengthened, and cooperation with the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) remained in place.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The 1998, the number of drug seizures rose rapidly to 16,320 cases from 14,174 in the previous year. GON officials noted that cannabis seizures increased significantly in terms of quantity and number of seizures.

The GON noted some large seizures of cannabis and amphetamines were made in 1998, including one seizure of 357 kilograms of cannabis. The law enforcement effort was stepped up resulting in a record number of persons charged with narcotics crimes. In order to discourage the use of narcotics substances, the authorities increased the fines relating to narcotics offenses. In order to improve law enforcement efforts, the police are calling for bigger budgets and permission to use bugging devices.

Corruption. Corruption remains a criminal offense in Norway. Norway's corruption laws were broadened in 1998 to cover corruption overseas. This means that Norwegian nationals bribing officials in foreign countries now can be brought to court in Norway. Public corruption remains insignificant in Norway, and no drug-related enforcement measures were recorded in 1998

.

Agreements and Treaties. Norway is a party of the 1988 UN Drug Convention and is in full compliance with this convention. Extradition between the U.S. and Norway is governed by a 1977 bilateral treaty which entered into force in 1980. Norway has laws governing money laundering and sales, and exports and imports of precursor chemicals (1997). Norway has bilateral customs agreements with the U.S., the E.U, Russia, countries in Central and Eastern Europe, and other trading partners. Norway remains a member of Interpol, the Dublin group and the Pompidou group. Norwegian counter- narcotics authorities cooperate frequently with their counterparts in the Nordic countries and the U.S.

Cultivation/Production. Cultivation of drugs remains limited in Norway although small quantities of Norwegian-grown cannabis have been detected. Production of drugs also is rare because of the effectiveness of laws governing domestic sales of precursor chemicals.

Drug Flow/Transit. According to GON officials, the inflow of illicit drugs appears to have increased in 1998, with cannabis being in the lead. Most illicit drugs are entering Norway by trailers from European destinations in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Central and Eastern Europe (Poland, Hungary). Some drugs have been seized in commercial vessels arriving from the European continent and Central/South America. The GON officials noted that Former Republic of Yugoslavia nationals have become prominent in Norway's narcotics market.

Chemical Control. On January 1, 1998, the Norwegian Ministry of Social and Health Affairs introduced new regulations governing domestic sales, exports, and imports of precursor chemicals in order to comply with the goals of the 1988 UN Drug Convention and relevant directives in the European Economic Area (EEA) Accord. According to the new regulations, all precursor transactions must be documented in detail and a license is needed in cases of exports and imports which transit domestic markets.

Norway continues to participate in a monitoring program for imports and exports of precursor chemicals through the Nordic Police and Customs Initiative (PTN). Norwegian customs officials monitor movements of these chemicals and cooperate with Norwegian chemical companies, with the latter notifying the authorities of suspicious purchases or orders. Norway continues to comply with the five main chemicals control provisions in the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). As noted, government ministries and local authorities have initiated anti-drug abuse programs. According to the GON, the increasing number of drug-related deaths suggests that these programs need further strengthening to become effective. While the maximum penalty for a narcotics crime in Norway is up to 21 years of jail, penalties for carrying small amounts of narcotics remain relatively mild. GON officials opined that stiffer penalties and fines would probably help reduce the drug menace, especially among youths.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

In 1998, the USG had no counter-narcotics assistance programs in Norway, but the Drug Enforcement Agency sponsored a seminar on international asset forfeiture and money laundering in August which was attended by law enforcement officials from Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. DEA officials consult with Norwegian counterparts regularly.

International Cooperation. According to the Norwegian Special Unit on Economic Crime, Norwegian officials from that unit consult with their counterparts in the U.S. in connection with narcotics investigations and proceedings. No formal record exchange agreement has been exchanged.

Norway has adopted laws and regulations that adequately ensure the availability of records in connection with narcotics investigations and proceedings to USG personnel and those of other countries.

Norway is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and is in full compliance with this convention.

Dublin Group. In 1998, Norway contributed NOK 12.5 million (USG 1.7 million) through the UN drug control program (UNDCP) to support counter narcotics efforts in drug producing and transit countries. In 1997, UNDCP support totaled 7.9 million.

The Road Ahead. Looking to 1999, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expects that UNDCP aid will be slightly higher than in 1998. Through the "Pompidou Group," a group in the council of Europe, Norway contributed about NOK one million for a narcotics education project in central Europe in both 1997 and 1998.

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