U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL STRATEGY REPORT, MARCH 1996: THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC
United States Department of State
Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
During 1995, drug trafficking and use, particularly of heroin continued
to escalate. The Slovak Republic remains a key transshipment point on
the "Balkan route" from Turkey to Western Europe. Police also believe
that a seizure of cocaine revealed a new effort by South American
cocaine traffickers to target the Slovak Republic as a conduit for
cocaine smuggling to Western Europe. The Government of the Slovak
Republic (GOSR) is increasing efforts to form an effective antidrug
strategy, including the creation of a National Drug Service and
developing legislation to implement the UN drug conventions. Such
efforts, however, continue to be hampered by a lack of resources and
experience. As a successor state to the Czech and Slovak Federal
Republic, the Slovak Republic is a party to the 1988 UN Convention
Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
II. Status of Country
Drug interests are continuing to target the Slovak Republic as a key
conduit for smuggling Southwest Asian heroin to Western Europe. The
Slovak Republic's position and loose border controls leave it wide open
to the Turkish heroin networks and other drug groups that have smuggling
operations in the region. This trend was underscored when a Turkish
truck destined for Germany was seized by Slovakian authorities with a
record load of over 200 kilograms of heroin. According to the Central
Drugs Service report and Western law enforcement authorities, opiates
from Central Asia are smuggled via Ukraine to Slovakia.
Although seizures of cocaine have been minimal, police believe that the
Slovak Republic may emerge as a crossroads for cocaine traffickers
seeking new routes to Western Europe. One such cocaine seizure in 1995,
revealed efforts by Colombian drug traffickers. Moreover, Colombian
traffickers have been smuggling cocaine through the neighboring Czech
Republic since 1991.
Meanwhile, Slovakian authorities have expressed concern about the
vulnerability of the Slovak Republic's well-developed chemical and the
pharmaceutical industry. Currently, all licit narcotics issues,
including licensing of export/import controls and prescription system,
are handled by one official in the Ministry of Health. Although
regulations to establish a monitoring regime have been adopted, they are
not effectively implemented. Privatization of the industry is offering
opportunities to drug trafficking organizations seeking ownership of the
means to produce illegal narcotics or precursor chemicals.
Because the banking sector is still in nascent stages, Slovak officials
believe that drug money laundering operations are limited. Some
officials fear, however, that money launderers may increase their use of
Slovak banks which do not question large cash deposits and allow
Health authorities believe that drug abuse, particularly of heroin, may
be increasing, but there are few supporting statistics. The BratislavaWest
Slovakian region reported a more than ten-fold increase of heroin
addicts referred to treatment in 1992-94 and other regions have reported
substantial increases according to the United Nations Drug Control
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1995
Policy Initiatives. In 1995, the GOSR focused efforts on implementing
significant policy changes adopted the previous year, including a new
comprehensive antidrug plan to target drug trafficking and use and
changes to the criminal code. As a result of these plans, an
independent national drug service was created in November 1995.
Despite severe resource restrictions, the Slovakian police continued
limited antidrug operations. The National police had two major seizures
during 1995, including a 123.5 kilogram (kg) heroin seizure, and a 25 kg
cocaine seizure. Police cooperation with Swiss and Norwegian
authorities resulted in the arrest of several members of a major
European drug smuggling organization.
Concern about possible money laundering has prompted the government to
seek to bring its legislation in line with European and international
norms. In addition, the GOS has begun efforts to develop asset seizure
Implementation of chemical control regulations and legislation continues
to be a challenge for law enforcement authorities. However, the GOSR
has outlined chemical control as a priority for 1996.
Cultivation and Production. In recent years, GOSR authorities reported
extensive illicit amphetamine production. There were no reports of such
production in 1995. There were no indications of opium poppy
cultivation and only minimal cannabis cultivation in private
Corruption. In March 1995, the Slovak Interior Minister announced an
anti-corruption "clean hands" program which included plans to combat
corruption by amending the criminal code, and establishing a special
police unit. Although rumors of corruption are widespread, there were
no narcotics-related corruption cases in 1995.
Agreements and Treaties. As one of the successor states to the Czech
and Slovak Federal Republic, the Slovak Republic is will honor all
obligations and treaty commitments of the former Czech and Slovak
Federal Republic, and is a party to the 1988 UN Convention Against
Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, the 1961
UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1972 Protocol thereto, and
the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The bilateral
extradition treaty between Czechoslovakia and the United States has
continued in force in the Slovak Republic as a successor state.
Demand reduction was incorporated as one of the primary aspects of the
national drug control policy adopted by the Slovak government in 1994.
As a result during 1995, several demand reduction programs were
initiated, including one directed at educating teachers and school
administrators. These programs are carried out by both the Ministry of
Education and the Ministry of Health, as well as by several nongovernmental
organizations (NGO's). By all accounts, the first training
segment, which took place in October 1995, was well received by the
participants, and there is enthusiastic support, both from the
government and NGO's, for the remaining segments of the program.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives and Bilateral Cooperation. The USG will promote
increased GOSR attention to the drug problem. Through the UNDCP, the
USG has contributed funds to strengthen the law enforcement and customs
communication infrastructure to enhance surveillance and interdiction
capabilities. Additionally, the USG has provided training through the
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Customs. The U.S.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has also offered training to
combat organized crime.
The USG will continue to encourage the Slovak Republic to focus on the
drug problems, to expand drug control activities, and to establish the
necessary institutional capabilities. The USG will continue to provide
limited law enforcement training and equipment to assist the Government
in its antidrug campaign. The USG and UNDCP are co-funding the GOSR's
participation in a regional demand reduction program in Sicily. The USG
also plans to continue providing prevention education training.