U.S. Department of State
1997 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, March 1998
United States Department of State
Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Europe and Central Asia
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA
The extent of narcotics smuggling, production, and consumption in
Serbia/Montenegro (FRY) remains difficult to determine. Nonetheless,
following the lifting of UN trade sanctions in 1996, it appears that the
country has once again become part of the Balkan route for heroin smuggling
from the Middle East to western Europe. Serbia/Montenegro is not a member
of the United Nations but holds itself responsible for meeting the
standards of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Lack of US diplomatic recognition
of the "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" prevents meaningful cooperation
with federal enforcement authorities and increases the difficulty of
obtaining information from other than open media sources. FRY enforcement
authorities claim that lack of international cooperation has reduced their
effectiveness in fighting drug trafficking and have requested renewed
cooperation with the United States. They also promised to provide a full
set of statistics on the drug problem sometime in the first quarter of
II. Status of Country
During the 1970's and 1980's, the Former Yugoslavia (FRY) was a major
avenue for the trafficking of heroin from the Middle East to western
Europe. The disintegration of the FRY and the imposition of UN trade
sanctions against the FRY reduced the extent of transit traffic through the
country and thus minimized the opportunity for drug trafficking along this
route. At the same time, gray market smuggling of a variety of goods,
including cigarettes, food, and oil, became a standard practice during the
UN sanctions. The federal government initiated a very public campaign
against these gray market activities during the late spring and summer of
1997, but the results are not yet clear. Widespread smuggling and the
existence of a largely cash-based economy are important impediments to the
ability of enforcement authorities to prevent narcotics trafficking. The
Republic of Montenegro's 1996 designation of itself as an offshore business
(and banking) zone clouds the picture further.
FRY authorities admit that heroin trafficking through the country is
growing and blame most of it on Albanian Kosovars and foreigners. These
officials point to frequent drug-related arrests of Albanian Kosovars in
neighboring and western European countries. Officials are also concerned
about indications that domestic consumption of heroin is growing.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1997
Law Enforcement Efforts. The following incident involving
distribution was reported in the press. On November 25, two ethnic
Albanians were arrested in Kosovo for attempting to sell 136.7 grams of
heroin in Bujanovack Banja, near Vranje in southern Serbia. An additional
102 grams were reportedly found in one of their homes'.
Corruption. No examples of official involvement in narcotics
smuggling have surfaced.
Cultivation and Production. Minimal.
Drug Flow/Transit. Press reports have not touted the large heroin
interdictions that occurred during the autumn of 1996. The following
incidents have been reported in the press for 1997. On September 4, two
Montenegrin citizens, Igor Maras and Zdenko Mara, were arrested by FRY army
border units and charged with attempting to smuggle 127 kilograms of
marijuana into Montenegro from Albania via Skadar Lake. The reported street
value of the marijuana was over 650,000 Deutsche Marks.
On November 12, FRY customs seized 4 kilograms of heroin at the Gradina
border crossing between Bulgaria and Serbia/Montenegro. The drug was
reportedly found in the luggage compartment of a bus, concealed in a
false-bottomed suitcase belonging to a German national. The bus originated
in Istanbul and was bound for Frankfurt.
On November 19, another 13 kilograms of heroin were seized at
Gradina. The drug was reportedly found in a Citroen passenger car belonging
to a Bulgarian citizen. The drug was concealed inside the spare tire of the
Agreements and Treaties. We presume that the 1988 UN Drug
Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the
1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Stubstances continue to apply to the FRY
by succession. We consider that extradition between the FRY and the US
continues to be governed by the 1902 Treaty with Yugoslavia.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Lack of diplomatic relations precludes
negotiations on narcotics-related bilateral agreements. Serbia/Montenegro
is not a member of the United Nations and therefore can not be a party to
the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The government's position is to implement the
Convention and become a party to it as soon as possible.
According to enforcement authorities, all international cooperation is
conducted on an informal, ad hoc basis.