08ASTANA2079, KAZAKHSTAN: SENIOR COUNTER-NARCOTICS OFFICIAL DISCUSSES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA2079 2008-10-20 11:03 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO9445
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW
RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK
RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #2079/01 2941103
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201103Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3601
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3600
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0692
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0093
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0803
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 1977
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1926
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2262
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0249
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0171
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 002079 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, INL 
 
TAGS: PGOV PREL SNAR KCRM KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  SENIOR COUNTER-NARCOTICS OFFICIAL DISCUSSES 
DRUG SITUATION, INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE 
 
1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified.  Not for public internet. 
 
2. (SBU) SUMMARY.  The Embassy's Office of Military Cooperation 
(OMC) and the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Office 
(INL) met with Colonel Nygmedzhan Saparov, the Deputy Chairman of 
the Committee on Combating Drug Trafficking of the Ministry of 
Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan, on October 9 to discuss the current 
drug situation in Kazakhstan, the progress of program 
implementation, and plans for future. Saparov discussed recent 
operations, successes, and challenges.  He also detailed needs that 
could be met with additional U.S. assistance.  END SUMMARY. 
 
CURRENT SITUATION 
 
3. (SBU) Colonel Nygmedzhan Saparov, Deputy Chairman of the 
Committee, welcomed the representatives of OMC and INL and discussed 
the current drug situation in Kazakhstan.  Colonel Saparov noted the 
problems of domestic production.  He explained that the Chu Valley 
in Southern Kazakhstan has 140,000 hectares of wild marijuana with 
high THC content.  The Chu Valley is apparently not under the 
control of a single cartel and anyone is free to harvest there. 
There are also marijuana plantations in the Almaty and Kyzylorda 
Oblasts.  Ephedra grows in Zailiskoe Alatau and Moiynkum.  However, 
Kazakhstan faces much more serious problems from the transit of 
narcotics, Saparov argued.  With the transit of opiates through 
Kazakhstan, the country faces an increasing problem with addiction. 
International experts estimate that 10-15% of drugs trafficked into 
Kazakhstan remain in the domestic Kazakhstani market.  The Ministry 
of Health reported that there are 55,211 registered drug addicts, 
including 4,759 women and 3,855 minors. 
 
4. (U) The Committee primarily focuses on narcotics, precursor 
chemicals, and organized crime.  According to Saparov, law 
enforcement bodies investigated approximately 7,000 drug-related 
crimes during the first eight months of 2008.  During that period, 
over 18 metric tons of drugs were seized, including 1.3 metric tons 
of heroin.  Two new divisions of the Committee were established last 
year -- Ontustik (South) to combat organized crime in Southern 
Kazakhstan and Delta-Dolina to contend with criminal groups and 
drugs in the Chu Valley.  At the last meeting of CIS drug control 
agencies, which took place in Russia, it was announced that the work 
of the two new units resulted in a 17% increase in the price of 
cannabis.  To control precursor chemicals in Kazakhstan, the 
Committee established a Section on Licensing the Legal Trade of 
Precursors to better oversee the 1,500 entities that directly or 
indirectly participate in the legal trade of precursors. 
 
INTERNATIONAL AND INTER-AGENCY COOPERATION 
 
5. (U) The Committee actively cooperates with law-enforcement 
agencies in neighboring countries.  Since the beginning of 2008, 26 
controlled-delivery operations were conducted, including 11 with 
Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.  The operations resulted in the 
seizure of 600 kilos of drugs, including 83 kilos of heroin. 
Kazakhstan cooperates with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization 
(SCO), Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Organization 
for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and foreign embassies 
in Kazakhstan.  CSTO members annually conduct Operation Kanal 
(Channel) to find and destroy narco-channels through their 
territories.  This year, Afghanistan and Pakistan also participated 
in the operation.  The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) has signed 
50 intergovernmental and interagency agreements and the Committee 
cooperates with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 
(UNODC).  The creation of the Central Asian Regional Information 
Coordination Center (CARICC), of which a Kazakhstani is the 
director, is an attempt to create an effective line of defense 
against narcotics shipments from Afghanistan. 
 
6. (U) Operation Mak (Poppy) is an annual operation conducted from 
May 20 to October 20 to combat the harvesting of marijuana in the 
Chu Valley.  Kazakhstan had previously suspended the annual 
 
ASTANA 00002079  002 OF 002 
 
 
operation, but revived it two years ago.  During the operation, the 
Committee closely cooperates with the Border Guard Service (BGS) of 
the National Security Committee and creates a security zone around 
the valley to prevent the movement of the
crop out of it. 
Inter-agency mobile units also conduct patrols throughout the 
valley.  The BGS provides personnel, horses, helicopters, and 
vehicles to support the operation. 
 
COMMITTEE NEEDS 
 
7. (SBU) Though combating drugs is one of the highest priorities for 
the Kazakhstani government, the Committee is not allocated 
sufficient funds to achieve its ambitious objectives.  Therefore, in 
response to OMC's request, Saparov detailed the unmet needs of the 
Committee.  He requested truck scanners and the construction of 
canine kennels at the local Departments of Internal Affairs.  He 
noted that the record seizure of 537 kilos of heroin on the 
Kazakhstani-Russian border on March 27 was made using a scanner 
installed at the Kairak customs checkpoint.  Currently, the 
Committee operates seven internal narcotic checkpoints on the 
primary narco-trafficking routes.  Two of these -- Ulken in Almaty 
oblast and Kyzyltu inSouth Kazakhstan Oblast -- are nearly 
impossible to detour around.  If scanners are supplied to these 
posts, Saparov believes that two major routes, 
Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan-Almaty and Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan, will be 
almost totally blocked. 
 
8. (SBU) Following the meeting, the head of the Committee's 
International Cooperation and Interagency Coordination Section also 
raised with INL the need to effectively inspect railcars.  As has 
been previously suggested by the BGS as well, a majority of 
narcotics are being trafficked via major rail routes through 
Kazakhstan.  INL is looking for possible assistance to MVD mobile 
units and BGS to allow them to search railcars without unduly 
delaying trains, which are a major means of transportation for both 
passengers and cargo throughout the region. 
 
9. (U)  COMMENT:  The Committee is eager for enhanced cooperation 
and will gladly accept further assistance.  Saparov coordinates 
operational work and understands well the need for basic 
intelligence to be supported by specialized equipment and a 
professional canine service.  Training and equipping operational 
staff is essential to his Committee.  There is also need for 
continued interaction with the United States and others 
international partners.  END COMMENT. 
 
HOAGLAND

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