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Viewing cable 09REYKJAVIK196, ICELAND: 2009-2010 INCSR SUBMISSION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09REYKJAVIK196 2009-11-03 17:05 2011-01-13 05:05 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Reykjavik
VZCZCXRO7717
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHRK #0196/01 3071725
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031725Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4207
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 REYKJAVIK 000196 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
STATE FOR INL JOHN LYLE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV SNAR KCRM IC
SUBJECT:  ICELAND: 2009-2010 INCSR SUBMISSION 
 
REYKJAVIK 00000196  001.2 OF 003 
 
 
1. (SBU) Iceland's submission for the 2009-2010 INCSR: 
 
I. Summary 
Icelandic authorities confront limited, but increasing, levels of 
domestic drug production. The primary focus of law enforcement is on 
stopping importation and distribution, with a lesser emphasis on 
prosecuting for possession and use. The number of seizures and 
narcotics-related offenses in Iceland continued to decline in 2009. 
At the same time, however, the total quantity of narcotics seized 
increased as authorities placed greater emphasis on shutting down 
large-scale operations. Icelandic police made the largest narcotics 
seizure in Icelandic history, based on street value, during the 
year. Along with the government, secular and faith-based charities 
organize abuse prevention projects and run respected detoxification 
and treatment centers. Iceland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug 
Convention. 
 
II. Status of Country 
Illegal drugs are produced in limited, but increasing, quantities in 
Iceland. Law enforcement authorities believe that the domestic 
production of drugs is limited to marijuana plants, now grown in 
quantities adequate to satisfy virtually all domestic demand, and 
the occasional amphetamine laboratory. Police reported an average 
seizure of 100-200 cannabis plants a week, a dramatic increase 
considering that was the seizure rate for the entire year in 2000. 
There are even rumors that some domestically grown marijuana may be 
intended for export. The harsh climate and lack of arable soil make 
the outdoor cultivation of drug crops in Iceland almost impossible 
so all cultivation is limited to indoor facilities. 
Most illegal drugs in Iceland are smuggled in through the mail, 
inside commercial containers, or by airline and ferry passengers. 
Amphetamines have become increasingly common during recent years and 
they are now the chief illicit drug entering Iceland. Police believe 
that this is part of a trend of stimulant drug use that also 
involves heightened levels of cocaine and MDMA in circulation. These 
drugs are believed to originate in Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, 
Lithuania and South America. They are imported into Iceland 
primarily via Denmark and the Netherlands. According to authorities 
there were 62 seizures of imported drugs and precursors in 2009 
(latest available National Commissioner of Police figures through 
September 30). 
Icelandic officials raised concerns during the year that drug 
smuggling into Iceland could be tied to Eastern European and Baltic 
organized crime groups, perhaps occasionally working in cooperation 
with Icelandic crime groups. In addition to drug trafficking, 
officials believe that these groups may also be involved in money 
laundering and human trafficking. Law enforcement officials stated 
publicly that investigation and interdiction efforts were being 
adjusted accordingly to deal with this element of organized crime. 
In February, the National Police Commissioner's Analytical Unit 
released an assessment on the extent of organized crime in Iceland. 
The report stated that as a result of the economic crisis in 
Iceland, profits from the narcotics trade will increasingly be 
invested in Iceland, since capital controls and an unfavorable 
currency exchange rate make exporting the profits difficult. 
 
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2009 
Policy Initiatives. The Public Health Institute of Iceland, 
established in 2003, is responsible for managing alcohol and drug 
abuse prevention programs on behalf of the government. Programs are 
funded through an alcohol tax, with allocations overseen by the 
independent national Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Council 
(ADAPC). The institute collects data, disseminates information on 
use of intoxicants, supports health improvement projects, and funds 
and advises local governments and non-governmental organizations 
working primarily in prevention. During the year it made grants 
worth roughly $361,000 to a total of 45 groups and administered 
projects across the country. The institute is part of the Nordic 
Council for Alcohol and Drug Research, which promotes and encourages 
a joint Nordic research effort on drug and alcohol abuse. 
A drug prevention program called "Youth in Europe" emphasizes the 
importance of organized leisure activities, in addition to time 
spent with parents, as Icelandic studies of drug abuse showed that 
these reduced the likelihood of drug use. In connection with the 
program, an annual Prevention Day is held each autumn in Iceland's 
grade schools. The program is sponsored by the pharmaceutical 
company Actavis Group, headquartered in Iceland, and is administered 
and coordinated by the City of Reykjavik, the University of Iceland, 
and Reykjavik University. The Icelandic Center for Social Research 
and Analysis, a nonprofit research center that specializes in youth 
research, published a study in October showing that 6 percent of 
15-16 year olds have tried cannabis substances at least once. 
Law Enforcement Efforts. Authorities have documented a substantial 
downward trend in narcotics violations over the past three years and 
the tentative number for 2009 shows a continuing decrease in such 
violations (from 1847 in 2007, to 1590 in 2008, and 976 as of 
September 30, 2009). This trend, however, can be attributed to the 
authorities placing greater emphasis on large-scale seizures and 
narcotics production facilities, while focusing less on individual 
 
REYKJAVIK 00000196  002.2 OF 003 
 
 
users. Police nationwide have intensified surveillance in public 
places and initiated searches of suspicious individuals, while also 
improving interdiction training for border police and customs 
officials. 
Police had confiscated a total of 25.4 kg of hashish, 74.2 kg of 
amphetamines, 1.8 kg of cocaine, 6 units of LSD, 16,216 Ecstasy 
pills, and 9,707 cannabis plants as of September 30, 2009. 
Nationwide drug seizure highlights include: 
In March, Reykjavik Metropolitan Police confiscated 1000 and 621 
cannabis plants, respectively, in two different raids on industrial 
buildings near Reykjavik. 
In April, a major police operation near the harbor town of Hofn in 
southeast Iceland led to the discovery of 55 kg of amphetamines, 34 
kg of marijuana, 19.5 kg of hashish, and roughly 9,400 Ecstasy pills 
that had been smuggled into Iceland by a Belgian-registered 
sailboat. The street value of the drugs amounted to millions of 
dollars, making this the biggest drug bust in Icelandic history. 
Over 100 people participated in the police operations including 
members of the Reykjavik Metropolitan Police, police departments in 
Eastern Iceland, the National Police Commissioner, the Icelandic 
Coast Guard, the Danish military, and the Icelandic Defense Agency. 
Six men were arrested in connection with the case. 
In April, Keflavik Airport (KEF) Police arrested two Belgian women 
with roughly 400 grams of cocaine hidden internally. 
In April, customs officials confiscated roughly 6 kg of amphetamines 
that were smuggled through express mail. 
In September, KEF Police arrested two Polish men with approximately 
6,000 Ecstasy pills hidden in cans. 
The National Police Commissioner and the Sudurnes Police 
Commissioner, who oversees Keflavik Airport, have expressed concern 
about attempts at infiltration into Iceland by Central and Eastern 
European gangs and criminals, including from the Baltic States. In 
the past, police have cooperated with Nordic officials to prevent 
the entry of biker gang members, particularly the Hell's Angels, 
suspected of attempting to expand their criminal operations to 
Iceland. In March, police and border guards prevented the entry of 
eight members of Hell's Angels, who came to Iceland to celebrate the 
eleventh anniversary of Fafnir MC, an Icelandic biker gang that the 
Hell's Angels have selected as a prospective member of their 
organization. Customs and police deployed drug-sniffing dogs to 
popular outdoor festivals on a holiday weekend in early August to 
deal with drug distribution among youths attending the events. 
Corruption. There were no reports of narcotics-related public 
corruption in Iceland. The country does not, as a matter of 
government policy, encourage or facilitate the illicit production or 
distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled 
substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug 
transactions. No senior official of the government is known to 
engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or 
distribution of such drugs or substances, or to be involved in the 
laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. 
Agreements and Treaties. Iceland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug 
Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and 
the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and its 1972 
Protocol. Iceland has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN 
Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three 
protocols. An extradition treaty is in force between the U.S. and 
Iceland. 
Drug Flow/Transit. Authorities consider Iceland a destination 
country for narcotics smuggling rather than a transit point. 
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Most alcohol and drug abuse 
treatment is taken on by SAA, the National Center of Addiction 
Medicine. SAA was founded in 1977 by a group of recovered addicts 
who wished to replicate the rehabilitation services they had 
received at the Freeport Hospital in New York. SAA receives roughly 
two thirds of its annual budget from the government and makes 
detoxification and inpatient treatments available free to Icelandic 
citizens. While there can be waiting lists for long-term addicts, 
especially men, there is no wait for teenagers. SAA's main treatment 
center estimated the number of admitted patients in 2009 to be 
2,200-2,300. The National Hospital annually admits 400-500 drug 
addicts (often those with complicating psychiatric illnesses). 
Individuals with less acute problems may turn to Samhjalp, a 
Christian charity that uses faith-based approaches to treating 
addiction, and Gotusmidjan, a treatment center for individuals 
between 15-20 years old, operated in conjunction with the Government 
Agency for Child Protection. 
The Directorate of Customs continued with its national drug 
education program, developed in 1999 and formalized in an agreement 
with the national (Lutheran) church in 2003, in which an officer 
accompanied by a narcotics sniffing dog informs students 
participating in confirmation classes about the harmful effects of 
drugs and Iceland's fight against drug smuggling. Parents are 
invited to the meetings in order to encourage a joint parent-child 
effort against drug abuse. The Directorate of Customs and the 
national church maintained an educational website, which expounds 
the message of the program, including drug awareness, information 
about the Directorate of Customs, and healthy living. 
 
 
REYKJAVIK 00000196  003.2 OF 003 
 
 
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs 
Bilateral Cooperation. DEA has enjoyed good relations with Icelandic 
law enforcement authorities on information exchanges. 
The Road Ahead. The DEA and FBI offices in Copenhagen and the 
Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik have 
developed good contacts in Icelandic law enforcement circles for the 
purpose of cooperating on narcotics investigations and interdiction 
of shipments. In the past year, the Embassy's Regional Security 
Office has facilitated continued support between U.S. and Icelandic 
authorities by sharing law enforcement practices and techniques to 
continue strengthening the abilities of the Icelandic police. The 
USG's goal is to maintain the good bilateral law enforcement 
relationship that up to now has facilitated the exchange of 
intelligence and cooperation on controlled deliveries and other 
areas of mutual concern. The USG will continue efforts to strengthen 
exchange and training programs in the context of its ongoing effort 
to improve law enforcement, homeland security, and counterterrorism 
ties with Iceland. 
WATSON