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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

SLOVAKIA

I. Summary

As a point in the Balkan route between Russia, Ukraine and Southwest Asia to western Europe, Slovakia remains a transshipment point for narcotics. In 1997, the Government of the Slovak Republic (GOSR) acknowledged that Slovakia has transformed from being primarily a transit country for illicit drugs to a consuming country as well. Demand for drugs within the country, trafficking of drugs and public awareness of drug use and sales throughout Slovakia are on an upward trend. In response, in 1997, Slovakia increased law enforcement funding and international cooperation on drug enforcement.

II. Status of Country

Drug use and sales increased within Slovakia in the last year. The GOSR has acknowledged increasing numbers of addicts. The GOSR, as well as several non-governmental organizations, have noted increasing drug abuse among young people. Of special concern to Slovak authorities is the increasing use of heroin by young people in economically disadvantaged parts of Slovakia. Drug-related violence is also on the rise, especially in Petrzalka, a working class suburb of Bratislava. Excluding Bratislava, locations within the Slovak Republic which have experienced drug-related offenses are the country's numerous spa cities (Piestany, Trencianske Teplice, Baroejov) and tourist centers (such as the High Tatra Mountains.) Additionally, the so-called "Balkan route" is a major concern, chiefly because of Slovakia's small and undermanned borders, such as Komarno and Meoveoov along the Slovak-Hungarian border.

As in other areas of crime in Slovakia, the influence of organized crime on drugs increased in 1997. The Slovak police have seen organized crime elements (both from within Slovakia and from abroad) increasing in terms of complexity and the amount of resources at their disposal. In contrast to past years, when organized crime in Slovakia was less pervasive and had fewer connections, criminal figures now have the most up-to-date equipment, receive vast amounts of financing from other ventures, and utilize their international contacts to further drug-related criminal enterprises. Home-grown Slovak organized criminal elements have assumed some of the sale and distribution of drugs in Petrzalka. Also in 1997, local organized crime groups increased links with those of neighboring countries.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1997

Slovak authorities have moved to strengthen border control, especially on the eastern border with Ukraine. However, due to lack of training and corruption, border control initiatives have not been effective.

Corruption. Concern persists among observers that corruption in law enforcement and state administration is growing in Slovakia. This corruption, if not stemmed, could seriously impact the effectiveness of narcotics interdiction and prevention effort.

Agreements and Treaties. As one of the successor states to the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, Slovakia is bound to honor all obligations and treaty commitments of the former Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, including the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The bilateral extradition treaty between Czechoslovakia and the United States has continued in force in the Slovak Republic, and has, in effect, been updated to encompass drug-related offenses by virtue of the GOSR's ratification of the UN Conventions. The USG has concluded a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) with the Government of Slovakia.

Drug Flow/Transit. During the first three quarters of 1997, 770 cases of drug-related crime were reported, 225 more than during the same period in 1996. Of these, 681 were prosecuted, 176 more than for the same period in 1996. More than 7.30 kilograms of heroin were seized for this period in 1997 (down from 10kg in 1996), and 9.577 kilograms of cocaine (down from 15kg in 1996). More than 852 kilograms of cannabis derivatives, including hashish, were seized. The GOSR reported that 53 grams of amphetamines were seized. There were no statistics pertaining to deaths related to drug-related crime. The Slovak Government noted that drugs tend to be sold from houses and apartments rather than on the street.

Demand Reduction. Through the Institute of Drug Addiction, the Institute of Drug Dependence and hospitals the GOSR has sought to provide services to addicts for free.

IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The USG has provided funds and training expertise from a variety of USG agencies to assist the GOSR in its anti-drug initiatives, including but not limited to support from the US Customs Service, the US Department of State, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The USG expects to provide limited additional assistance to the GOSR in the form of training opportunities in 1998. In addition, the Agency for International Development (AID) is working with certain communities and NGOs on demand-reduction programs.

The Road Ahead. The USG is encouraging the GOSR to maintain its tough stance on drug enforcement and to expand its enforcement and prevention capabilities through modernization of responsible agencies, and, where possible, funding education programs for at-risk groups. The USG will also continue to support and strengthen Slovakia's counter-crime and counternarcotics efforts through law enforcement training.

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