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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


I. Summary

In 1997, arrests and seizures of narcotics and illegal drugs increased over the previous year. Romanian authorities believe that the country is increasingly used as a storage location for drugs destined for sale in western Europe, with small quantities redistributed for consumption in larger cities like Bucharest or university centers like Cluj. Romania's police and security agencies are making a concerted effort to combat this problem. Despite budgetary restrictions and limited physical means, the high number of arrests in 1997 indicates a serious police effort to stem the flow of drugs through Romania. Romania is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Romania is a transit country for drugs into western Europe. However, the USG does not anticipate that Romania will become a significant producer of narcotics or precursor chemicals despite the increase in drug trafficking. Organized criminal activity in Romania involves narcotics trafficking. Romania has established the Squad for Countering Organized Crime (BCCOC) which is directly subordinate to Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior, Brigadier General Theodor Zaharia.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1997

In November 1996, the Romanian legislation monitoring drug trafficking and production was modified. The new penal code institutes prison sentences from 15 years to life for organized possession, distribution, or illicit cultivation of narcotics.

Accomplishments. The Government of Romania (GOR) accomplishments in 1997, included:

Combating Illicit Cultivation: In 1997, there was continued enforcement of existing laws, though Romania has not traditionally been a country of narcotics cultivation or production. The GOR also made 2 arrests for cannabis cultivation.

Combating Distribution: 89 arrests of individuals for possession or attempt to sell or transport illegal drugs.

Drug seizures: Romanian Customs seized 1,308 kg of cannabis; 70 kg of cocaine; 15 kg of heroin.

Extradition: Romanian authorities cooperated with the USG and other western countries in upholding extradition agreements and in other legal and consular matters involving the arrests of US citizens involved in narcotic trafficking.

Corruption. As a matter of policy, the Government of Romania does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs, other controlled substances or the laundering of drug money.

Law Enforcement Efforts. There were approximately 402 cases of drug seizures in 1997. Most drugs were discovered in vehicles and houses, with the exception of 69 parcels of cocaine discovered concealed between the chairs of a RO-IR lorry. The 1997 statistics provided by the Squad for Countering Organized Crime (BCCOC) show that a total of 640 persons were arrested or entered into police records in connection with seizures. The breakdown of the 640 by origin is as follows: 215 Romanian, 216 from Asia, 147 from Europe, 35 from Africa, 13 from North and South America, and 13 unknown.

Agreements and Treaties. The 1925 Extradition Treaty between the USG and Romania is recognized and still applicable. The GOR is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Cultivation and Production. Cultivation and production of narcotics is minimal.

Demand Reduction. Local drug use remains low but is slightly on the rise. Per capita income is low and most Romanians cannot afford to purchase illicit drugs. When sold locally, drugs are priced in USD or German marks. In a change from last year, there is now a public anti-drug policy established by the Ministry of Health with the active participation of the police. Known as "ARLID" (the Romanian fight against drugs), it has a moderate budget and has produced literature, magazines, posters, etc., warning youth of the dangers of drug abuse. There are also small drug rehabilitation units at larger hospitals, although no programs for social rehabilitation have been developed.

IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has worked with Romanian authorities on counternarcotics matters. The Romanian General Customs Administration has created training programs focusing on customs surveillance and control brigades including drug enforcement teams. DEA and Romanian police have stepped up exchange of information. Two seminars on counternarcotics trafficking were planned for December 1997 and January 1998. Romanian authorities would welcome more seminars on modern methods of combating money laundering.

The Road Ahead. DEA representatives in Vienna enjoy a cooperative relationship with the Romanian police. The US Embassy anticipates no major changes in DEA programs in Romania, with continued moderate expenditures for training and possibly some expenditures for equipment. The USG will also continue to support and strengthen the GOR's legislative and law enforcement efforts to counter money laundering. The USG anticipates the placement of a Department of Justice Resident Legal Advisor in Bucharest to assist in the development of legislation to counter narcotics and organized crime and train in other legislative and prosecutorial issues.


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