Browse through our Interesting Nodes of Greek Radio & Television Read the Convention Relating to the Regime of the Straits (24 July 1923) Read the Convention Relating to the Regime of the Straits (24 July 1923)
HR-Net - Hellenic Resources Network Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Tuesday, 21 March 2023
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Interesting Nodes
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts

1998 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report

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


I. Summary

Romania is not a major producer or consumer of narcotics; however, it is used as a transit country for illicit drugs destined for Western Europe. Romania is taking steps to enact legislation to better deal with the narcotics problem but lack of resources is an ongoing problem that hampers Romania's anti-drug efforts. Legislation regarding narcotics, money laundering, and corruption are currently pending, but was not enacted in 1998. U.S. drug enforcement training was provided to Romanian police officers and prosecutors. Romania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Romania is located on the "northern Balkan Route," along which drugs move from the southeast into Romania and then on to Western Europe. Romania's relatively open borders, as well as hostilities in other Balkan countries, make Romania attractive as a transit country. Drugs enter Romania via land, sea, and air. It is estimated that ten percent of the drugs that enter Romania remain in country for local distribution. The rest immediately continue on to Western Europe, or are held in "depots" for later movement to Western Europe. Drug seizures in 1998 indicate an increase in the amount of heroin moving through Romania.

Narcotics cultivation and production have traditionally not been a problem in Romania. However, the country is beginning to see a small amount of cannabis cultivation and amphetamine production. Nonetheless, actual narcotics sales and consumption remain relatively low, due at least in part to the country's poor economic conditions which make drugs simply too expensive for the local population.

A handful of demand reduction programs were undertaken in 1998. These efforts included anti-drug educational manuals for use in high schools and sports-related, anti-drug activities targeted at the country's youth.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1998

Policy initiatives. In 1998, three bills moved closer to becoming law. the "Law on Drug Consumption and Trading Control," the "Law to Prevent the Use of the Financial and Banking System for Money Laundering Purposes" and a bill which expands on existing anti-corruption legislation.

Accomplishments. In addition to legislative and law enforcement efforts, Romania's accomplishments include the completion of the text for a bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement and the modernization of several border-crossing areas (with EU PHARE assistance). To supplement EU grant assistance, Romania, along with other nations in the region, are pursuing World Bank financing to enhance border crossing facilities and purchase much-needed inspection equipment. In the area of multinational cooperation, during March/April 1998 Romania participated in the joint EU/World Customs Organization "Operation Roadrunner," which targeted narcotics trafficking along the Balkan route and resulted in significant seizures in the participating countries.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Drug enforcement and interdiction efforts in Romania are carried out by three governmental entities. the Ministry of the Interior's Squad for Countering Organized Crime and Corruption (BCCOC), the Customs Department and the Border Police. In 1998, the BCCOC increased to thirty officers from twenty-four.

From January to October 1998, Romanian law enforcement agencies seized 518 kilograms of illegal drugs. Although less than the 1,541 kilograms (updated, full-year figure) seized in 1997, a single seizure of 1,300 kilograms of cannabis accounted for most of the 1997 total. Although the number of seizures declined in 1998, there was a marked increase in the amount of heroin seized. As of October 1998, Romania had seized 372 kilograms of heroin, over three times the 117 kilograms seized in all of 1997.

The BCCOC reports that arrests were also up in 1998. In 1997, there were 107 narcotics-related arrests (updated, full-year figure). Year-to-date arrests as of October 1998 stood at 117.

Corruption. While the Romanian criminal code addresses corruption-related activities, such as bribery, these laws are insufficiently enforced. A new anti-corruption bill is up for debate in the Romanian Senate. This law is designed to help clarify and expand what activities are illegal. The law would also expand the penalties for corruption-related offenses. The true test of this, or any new anti-corruption legislation, will be the effort the Romanian Government puts behind actual enforcement. In the first half of 1998, there were 332 corruption-related convictions, down from 348 in the first half of 1997.

Agreements and Treaties. In 1998, Romania completed trilateral agreements to combat organized crime (which includes narcotics-related issues) with Bulgaria and Turkey, with Bulgaria and Greece and with Moldova and the Ukraine. The U.S. and Romania are currently negotiating a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. Romania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The USG has concluded a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement with the Government of Romania.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. The Department of State assigned a resident legal adviser to work with the Romanian Government on legislative reform. He is also working with the prosecutor's office and the BCCOC in developing a series of seminars focussing on combating corruption, money laundering, and organized crime.

In December 1997, forty Romanian police and prosecutors attended a narcotics training session in Bucharest sponsored by the USG. In January 1998, twenty-nine police and prosecutors received ten days of drug enforcement training offered by DEA. In October 1998, four police officers attended the DEA-provided Balkan enforcement seminar held in Bratislava.

Bilateral Cooperation. Romania continues to be very cooperative and routinely works closely with U.S. drug enforcement agencies. However, cooperation was less than in previous years, due largely to the dismissal of several experienced Romanian drug enforcement officials. The dismissals were due to a failed undercover narcotics operation.

Multilateral Cooperation. In the framework of the Southeast Europe Cooperative Initiative (SECI), Romania proposed in 1998 to host a regional center for combating transborder crime, including narcotics trafficking. Conclusion of enabling agreements for the Bucharest center is expected in the spring of 1999. The target date for opening the center itself, with most of SECI's 11 member countries involved, is set for autumn 1999.

In support of SECI, U.S. Customs, in conjunction with the Austrian and Italian Customs Services, has an advisory team in Romania assisting the Romanian Customs and the Border Police. This advisory team assisted with the establishment of an anti-smuggling task force comprised of those Romanian Government agencies with a responsibility for border-related crime.

The Road Ahead. The U.S. intends to improve its close working relationship with Romania, including the eventual posting of a DEA officer to Bucharest. The U.S. also plans to continue assisting Romania via training and legislative reform assistance.

Back to Top
Copyright © 1995-2023 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
All Rights Reserved.

HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
Saturday, 27 February 1999