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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05KINGSTON2702
2005-12-14 18:23:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Kingston
Cable title:  

JAMAICA 2005 INCSR - PART I

Tags:   SNAR  JM 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						
					
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 KINGSTON 002702

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INL/LP (KBROWN), STATE FOR INL, WHA/CAR
(BENT),JUSTICE FOR OIA, AFMLS AND NDDS, TREASURY FOR
FINCEN, DEA FOR OILS AND OFFICE OF DIVERSION CONTROL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR JM
SUBJECT: JAMAICA 2005 INCSR - PART I


The Drugs and Chemical Control section of the 2005-2006 INCSR
follows.


I. Summary:

Jamaica is a major transit point for South American cocaine
en route to the United States and also the largest Caribbean
producer and exporter of cannabis. The Government of Jamaica
(GOJ) has a National Drug Control Strategy in place that
covers both supply and demand reduction. During 2005, the GOJ
maintained existing counter-narcotics law enforcement and
interdiction programs and took several steps to strengthen
its counter-narcotics law enforcement capability. The GOJ
introduced a new Customs arrival form in August 2003 that
includes a currency declaration and a new immigration form in
October 2004 that captures information in the border
management/migration system that was implemented in November

2004. The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) purchased
closed-circuit television systems and non-intrusive
inspection equipment to strengthen security at Jamaica's
seaports. The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Narcotics
Vetted Unit took significant steps to increase its evidential
intelligence gathering capabilities in investigating major
narcotics and crimes figures. Cooperation between U.S. and
GOJ law enforcement agencies is considered excellent in most
areas. The GOJ has taken steps to protect itself against drug
trafficking and other organized crime, and has made
significant strides towards intensifying and focusing its law
enforcement efforts towards more effectively disrupting the
trafficking of large amounts of cocaine in Jamaica and
throughout Jamaica's territorial waters.

The GOJ commenced several multi-national counter drug
initiatives in early 2004 and later established Operation
Kingfish to collaborate with their international partners and
international law enforcement officers to target significant
narco-traffickers and their organizations. These efforts
have borne significant success in the form of arrests and the
dismantling of significant gangs. These efforts are expected
to have significant new developments and results in 2006.
However, areas of concern include the prosecution of
significant drug traffickers operating in Jamaica, increasing
the amount of Jamaican drug seizures, and eradication. The

U.S. will continue to provide equipment, technical
assistance, and training to assist the GOJ to strengthen its
counter-narcotics capabilities. Jamaica is a party to the
1988 UN Drug Convention and during 2005 made progress towards
meeting the goals and objectives of the Convention.

II. Status of Country

Jamaica's 638 miles of coastline and over 110 unmonitored
airstrips make it a major transit country for cocaine
destined for the U.S. and European (primarily UK) markets as
well as the largest producer and exporter of cannabis in the
Caribbean. Jamaica is not a significant regional financial
center, tax haven or offshore banking center, but with no
effective legislation in place, some money laundering does
occur, primarily through the purchase of real assets, such as
houses and cars. Cash couriers are also a significant
concern. Jamaica is neither a source of precursor or
essential chemicals used in the production of illicit
narcotics nor a significant conduit for the transit of
precursor chemicals. A lack of regulations makes Jamaica
vulnerable to the illegal diversion of such chemicals.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005

Despite Jamaica's scarce resources, the GOJ signed a contract
worth more than USD 29,000,000 for the construction of three
42-meter patrol boats and the repair of one 37.5-meter
vessel. A number of seized go-fast boats and one fixed wing
aircraft have been placed into service with the Jamaica
Defense Force (JDF) Coast Guard and JDF Air Wing respectively
for counter-narcotics operations. The PAJ procured and
installed more than USD 21 million in non-intrusive
inspection equipment, including mobile gamma imaging
machines, x-ray machines for high-density cargo, and pallet
machine and closed-circuit television surveillance systems
for the Kingston and Montego Bay ports. Electronic access
controls should be in place shortly. PAJ also hired expert
technical advisors to operate the equipment and provide
oversight. Customs continued to work on the implementation of
its modernization plan, which, among other things, calls for
the vetting of Customs officers. Lack of resources has
hampered progress. The Contraband Enforcement Team has
experienced a high staff attrition rate. Currently their
staff has been reduced from 43 to 32 personnel. The GOJ and
the Narcotics Affairs Section has started the process to
refurbish an existing building at the Norman Manley
International Airport, Kingston to house the Airport
Interdiction Task Force, which will be comprised of Jamaican,
US, UK and Canadian law enforcement personnel. The task
force will focus on narcotics trafficking and illegal
migrants. The refurbishing work should be completed by early

2006. The GOJ continued to fund the operating expenses for
the Caribbean Regional Drug Law Enforcement Training Center.
Jamaica continues to work to implement the provisions of its
2002-2007 National Anti-Drug Plan, which addresses both
supply and demand reduction.

Policy Initiatives: GOJ officials publicly state the
government's commitment to combating illegal drugs and
drug-related crimes. Similar to a 2002 initiative, the
Minister of National Security unveiled in late 2004 a
broad-based operation "Kingfish", designed to attack the
center of gravity of drug trafficking and criminal
organizations and individuals and to stem the rising crime
rate and gang violence in Jamaica. This operation supported
by the U.S., UK, and Canada leaves no potential target group
untouched. Several high-profile gangs have been disrupted
and its leaders arrested through the work of Operation
Kingfish. The Ministry of National Security (MNS) also
placed a JCF officer in Miami at the Office of the Florida
Department of Law Enforcement to enhance cooperation on drug
matters. The GOJ has drafted and tabled several legislative
measures such as the Proceeds of Crime Act, a Plea Bargaining
Bill all designed to rid the country of drug traffickers, and
enhance the capabilities of law enforcement to successfully
prosecute criminal organizations. These legislative measures
are at various stages of legislative process. The Terrorism
Prevention Act has been passed.

The National Intelligence Bureau has been in existence for
more than two years and has the mandate to coordinate
intelligence for the Jamaica Constabulary Force. However to
date the unit has neither received support nor staffing from
the GOJ to fulfill its mandate. A system has been
implemented to vet the officers and staff. This process is
incomplete.
Accomplishments: Collaborative efforts between local and
international law enforcement agencies led to the arrest of
several drug traffickers in Jamaica and the U.S. which
resulted in the dismantling of their organizations.
Business and personal assets such as motor vehicles, cash and
property, were also seized. However, until the Proceeds of
Crime legislation has been passed, the GOJ will not be able
to benefit from the seized assets. Other collaborative
efforts (i.e. operations with JIATF/South) have resulted in
large seizures of cocaine and vessels used to transport
illicit substances to the U.S., causing an increase in the
price of cocaine and increases in cultivation and export of
cannabis to fill the void.

Law Enforcement Efforts: Both the JCF and JDF assign a high
priority to counter-narcotics missions. The JDF Air Wing and
Coast Guard are actively involved in maritime interdiction
efforts. The JCF Narcotics Division is a competent and
respected unit. The Narcotics Division is continuing its
multi-year restructuring and expansion program, which will
increase its staffing to 250 officers over the medium term
and to work closely with DEA in investigating significant
narcotics trafficking and money laundering organizations in
Jamaica.

Corruption: Corruption continues to undermine law enforcement
and judicial efforts against drug-related crime in Jamaica,
and is a major barrier to more effective counter-narcotic
actions. Jamaica is a party to the Inter-American Convention
against Corruption and signed the consensus agreement on
establishing a mechanism to evaluate compliance with the
Convention. The GOJ does not encourage or facilitate the
illicit production or distribution of narcotics or
psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the
laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The
GOJ has a policy of investigating credible reports of public
corruption and prosecutes individuals who are linked by
reliable evidence to drug-related activity but has not
prosecuted any senior GOJ officials for facilitating the
illicit production or distribution of such substances, or the
laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The
JDF has a "zero tolerance" policy on involvement in
drug-related activity by its members. The JCF conducts drug
testing of recruits at their initial physical exam, but does
not have a random drug testing policy. Vetting of special
units is conducted but only on a voluntary basis due to
strong resistance to mandatory vetting by the police union.

Agreements and Treaties: Jamaica has a mutual legal
assistance treaty (MLAT) and an extradition treaty with the
U.S. Both countries utilize the MLAT to combat illegal
narcotics trafficking and other crimes. The U.S. and Jamaica
have a reciprocal asset sharing agreement that provides for
the sharing of forfeited assets where law enforcement
cooperation has made possible the forfeiture of proceeds from
criminal activity. Jamaica is a party to the Inter-American
Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. A
U.S.-Jamaica maritime counter narcotics cooperation agreement
came into force in 1998; expanded Shiprider provisions were
negotiated in July 2003 and has now been fully implemented.
In September 2003, Jamaica ratified the UN Convention against
Transnational Organized Crime and two of its protocols
(migrant smuggling and firearms). Jamaica is a party to the
1961 UN Single Convention, the 1972 Protocol amending the
Single Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic
Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. On October 15,
the GOJ signed, but has not yet ratified, the Caribbean
Regional Maritime Agreement.

Cultivation/Production: Jamaica is the largest Caribbean
producer and exporter of cannabis. There is no accurate
estimate of the amount of cannabis under cultivation or the
number of harvests per year. Lack of crop survey data and
baseline figures makes it impossible to quantify the effect
of GOJ eradication efforts on the total crop. The level of
marijuana production has changed from large hectares to
smaller plots nested in hilly and rocky terrain that proves
to be inaccessible to vehicular traffic. A new strain of
marijuana maturing to approximately three feet was recently
discovered in Westmoreland. Very sophisticated cultivation
methods, including portable irrigation systems, generators,
floodlights etc, make the fields difficult to locate from the
air. As a matter of policy, Jamaica does not use herbicides
to eradicate cannabis nor does it have the capability. Manual
cutting is the primary eradication method.

Drug Flow/Transit: Trafficking of cocaine throughout and
around Jamaica has been significantly reduced. The Drug
Enforcement Administration has estimated that there has been
a significant reduction in the number of costal interceptors
transiting the Jamaican waters. This reduction is attributed
to the arrests of the major Jamaican drug traffickers since
March 2004 on extradition warrants and the continuing
coordinated multi-national counter drug enforcement
initiatives. These initiatives have led to the arrests of
Jamaicans, Colombians and Bahamian traffickers, which have at
least temporary disrupted cocaine trafficking through the
central Caribbean. Cocaine is still being
smuggled/transshipped from Colombia's north coast (but in
smaller quantities) by major Colombian and Jamaican
trafficking groups into and out of Jamaica primarily via
maritime vessels (go-fast vessels), containerized cargo and
to a lesser extent via private aircraft. Narcotics
trafficking groups continue to utilize private aircraft to
transport drugs from Jamaica to the Bahamas and then on to
the United States. With one hundred and fourteen (114)
identified landing strips/fields in Jamaica, these
clandestine activities frequently occur undetected throughout
the island. Smugglers also use concealment in commercial
shipments, and couriers who board airlines or cruise ships
with ingested or concealed drugs.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction): Cannabis is the drug
most frequently abused in Jamaica. However, the use of both
powder cocaine and crack cocaine still continues to increase,
even though the availability of both forms of the drug on the
island has decreased. Consumption of cocaine, heroin and
cannabis is illegal. The possession and use of ecstasy (MDMA)
is currently controlled under the Food and Drug Act and is
subject to relatively light penalties. There is an effort
underway to have ecstasy included under the Dangerous Drug
Act. Jamaica has several active demand reduction programs
including visible projects of the Ministry of Health/National
Council on Drug Abuse and the NGO, Addiction Alert, that
receive modest U.S. funding support. The UNODC works directly
with the GOJ and NGOs to improve demand reduction efforts.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. and Jamaica cooperate in a
variety of areas, including maritime interdiction, the
apprehension of fugitives, and initiative relating to
community-police relations. U.S. law enforcement agencies
note that cooperation with the GOJ is generally good and is
steadily improving.

The JDF Coast Guard (JDFCG) engages in cooperative
operational planning with the U.S. Coast Guard on an
intermittent basis associated with joint military operations
in or near Jamaica's territorial waters. During 2005, Jamaica
participated in six deployments of Operation Rip Tide, a
continuing U.S./Jamaica/Cayman Islands/UK effort to deny
smugglers the use of maritime smuggling routes into Jamaica
and the Cayman Islands. The bilateral maritime counter
narcotics agreement was successfully exercised on several
occasions during 2005. In February, the U.S. and Jamaica
signed a protocol to the bilateral agreement signed by the US
and GOJ to provide increased flexibility to third party
nations to operate within Jamaican jurisdictional areas
subject to certain guidelines continues to enhance
operational efficiency, technical assistance and logistical
support, as well as all areas of maritime safety.

The JDF currently lacks fixed wing projection capabilities
but improved their off shore capabilities when they acquired
two of three forty two meter county class vessels built by
DAMEN ship builders in Holland. The third vessel will arrive
in 2006. One of the three 44-foot interceptors donated in
2003 is operational, and deployed on the north coast of
Jamaica. The JDFCG has engaged DAMEN to improve the
serviceability of all three 44-foot interceptors. One forty
foot SeaArk dauntless patrol vessel is being retrofitted in
Miami and is expected to be delivered in February 2006.
Between 2004 and 2005 the JFDCG assigned two crew members to
the Coast Guard Caribbean Support Tender and in addition
embarked the first officer for training. In 2005. two new CG
ratings were attached for a year long tour aboard the USCGC
Gentian. The Gentian delivered one refurbished Eduardono, a
38-foot high-speed pursuit boat, to the JDFCG.

In 2005, the U.S. funded participation by Jamaican police,
immigration, customs, defense force and other personnel in
several in-country and regional training courses. The U.S.
continues to fund an advisor to the National Intelligence
Bureau and a Law Enforcement Development Advisor to assist
the JCF's strategic planning and reform efforts. Members of
the highly effective Jamaica Fugitive Apprehension Team
(JFAT), with guidance from U.S. Marshals, received
specialized training, equipment and operational support. The
JFAT is actively working on over 210 fugitive cases. Since
January 2005, twelve arrests have been made. There have been
5 cases of extradition and 3 persons have been deported to
the United States. There are 18 defendants in custody
awaiting extradition to the U.S.
The U.S.-funded International Office of Migration (IOM)
Border Control Project, designed to strengthen the GOJ's
ability to monitor the flow of persons into and through
Jamaica, was officially launched on November 1, 2004. This
pilot project, which has modernized the computer
infrastructure at the ports of entry, is now fully
functional. USAID is continuing with a program of assistance
to the JCF in community-police relations that will focus on
strategies to reduce crime and violence.

The Road Ahead: The GOJ has taken steps to protect itself
against drug trafficking and other types of organized crime.
However, the GOJ needs to further intensify its law
enforcement efforts and enhance international cooperation.
The U.S. will continue to provide technical assistance and
training to assist the GOJ to improve its drug interdiction,
cannabis eradication, and demand reduction efforts. The U.S.
will also work closely with the police and public prosecutors
to enhance the GOJ's ability to identify, investigate, and
successfully prosecute significant drug traffickers. The USG
will continue to provide assistance and training to the JDFCG
to strengthen Jamaica's maritime interdiction efforts. The
USG is committed to on-going support for the JCF Narcotics
vetted unit, the JFAT and the CET through the provision of
specialized training and equipment. In addition, the USG
will focus on supporting the GOJ in its anti-corruption
efforts.

Modern anticrime legislation, including passage of all of the
proposed legislation contained in the 2002 reform package and
amendments to strengthen the Interception of Communications
Act, is essential in order to investigate, arrest and
successfully prosecute drug traffickers and other criminals.
The passage of a civil asset forfeiture law could materially
assist GOJ counter-narcotics operations by providing an
alternate source of vehicles, small boats and aircraft for
Jamaican law enforcement agencies and the military. The GOJ
should also revise its drug legislation to provide adequate
penalties for the trafficking and use of internationally
controlled psychotropic substances and substances whose
molecules have similar chemical properties. The USG is
willing to provide technical assistance to the GOJ as it
works to strengthen existing laws and draft new legislation.


V. Statistics

Seizures unit 2005 2004 2003

Cannabis KG 15,264.37 20,952.14 36,603.60
Cocaine KG 142.38 1,735.51 1,619.21
Crack Cocaine KG 1,678 3,049 2,663
Hash Oil KG 910.49 37.70 1,897.33
Estacy Tablets 13,070 133,032 Nil

Eradication

Cannabis HA 391 411.64 425.6
Cocaine Labs destroyed nil nil 1
Nurseries Units 606 403 279
Seedlings Units 6,552,000 5,004,930 3,711,975
Seeds KG 246.32 15,304,950 239.35

Arrests

Total Arrest 5,766 6,319 6,044
Foreigners 203 294 303
JOHNSON