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US State Department report evaluates Georgia’s anti-drug trade efforts

By Messenger Staff
Monday, March 7
The United States (US) State Department has released its International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 2016 (INCSR).

The report reads that Georgia is a significant transit country for illicit drug flows.

Seizures made in 2015 at Tbilisi airport and at overland points of entry illustrate that Georgia has emerged as a viable trafficking corridor for transnational criminal organizations to smuggle increasingly large shipments of cocaine, marijuana, heroin, amphetamine, and synthetic drugs to markets in Western Europe, Russia and Turkey.

The report highlighted Georgia’s continued efforts against drug trafficking and said that Georgia seized a record 2.8 tons of liquid heroin in 2014 and successfully continued its anti-drug efforts in 2015.

The INCSR is an annual report describing the efforts of more than 80 foreign countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade.

The recent survey mainly revealed the figures of 2015 and also used the data of a previous year.

The Georgian section of the report included:
• In 2014 Georgia seized a record 2.8 tons of liquid heroin;
• Significant seizures of illicit drugs through the first ten months of 2015 included a 37 kilogram (kg) seizure of cocaine and a 60 kg seizure of amphetamine;
• In an effort to improve tracking of these routes, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia created a special analytical unit in December 2014, which contributed to multiple seizures of cocaine at the Tbilisi Shota Rustaveli International Airport;
• In 2015, the US continued to strengthen counternarcotics institutional capacity through operational and training efforts for both law enforcement officers and prosecutors. Specific assistance included further training for the Counternarcotics Division of the Central Criminal Police, including in anti-money laundering techniques, analytical tradecraft and interdiction, as well as expanded cooperation with Georgia’s Customs service;
• The US completed a two-year project to develop an interagency counternarcotics canine unit at the Tbilisi Shota Rustaveli International Airport in September 2015.
• 2015 highlights included the introduction of two more Georgian police attachés, stationed in Germany and Spain, with plans to deploy attachés in the near future to Poland, Kazakhstan and Italy.
• Georgia continues to implement its National Drug Strategy and Action Plan and focused its 2015 program on juveniles with positive public messaging promoting a healthy lifestyle.
• Georgia established a National Drug Monitoring Center in November and signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction to promote information sharing between the two institutions.

The US State Department used figures provided by Georgian non-governmental organisations and said the estimated number of injecting drug users was around 50,000 in Georgia, out of a population of 3.7 million.

The US State Department stated that Georgia used a US-developed curriculum to support the training and professionalisation of its workforce.