Viewing cable 04VILNIUS1578

04VILNIUS15782004-12-30 13:55:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A 
¶I. Summary 
¶1.  In 2004, Lithuania strengthened its counter-narcotics 
efforts, rolling out a National Drug Addiction Prevention 
and Drug Control Strategy for 2004-2008.  The use and 
sale of narcotics, however, continues to increase in 
Lithuania.  Lithuania remains a transit route for heroin 
from Asia to Western Europe and produces synthetic 
narcotics for both domestic use and export.  Law 
enforcement authorities estimate that the domestic drug 
trade is 500 million Litas (USD 200 million) per annum 
and growing.  The most popular drugs include synthetic 
narcotics, poppy straw extract, heroin, and cannabis. 
Industrially produced psychotropic drugs are also 
popular.  Though public awareness campaigns have grown, 
the number of registered drug addicts and drug-related 
crimes increased in 2004.  USG and GOL law enforcement 
cooperation is very good.  End Summary. 
II. Status of Country 
¶2. Synthetic narcotics, poppy straw extract, heroin, and 
cannabis are the most popular drugs in Lithuania.  Poppy 
straw and cannabis are popular because they are 
inexpensive, while synthetic narcotics are most popular 
on the black market.  The price of a dose of heroin, 20 
Litas (USD 5.7), remained unchanged from 2003.  Heroin is 
smuggled into Lithuania from Central Asia and the 
Balkans.  Cocaine imports from South America travel 
through Western Europe into Lithuania.  Poppy straw is 
especially popular in the countryside, and is smuggled to 
the Kaliningrad district of Russia.  Industrially 
produced psychotropic drugs (e.g., GHB), liquid heroin, 
and new psychotropic substances are increasingly popular. 
Hashish is not popular.  Law enforcement authorities 
estimate that the domestic drug trade is 500 million 
Litas (USD 200 million) per annum and growing. 
Lithuanian organized crime groups have begun to penetrate 
the German narcotics market. 
¶3.  There were 4,689 registered drug addicts in January 
2004, an increase of 284 individuals from 2002.  In 2003, 
356 persons approached health care institutions for the 
first time (653 in 2001).  Nearly 75 percent of all drug 
addicts are younger than 35 years old, while more than 90 
percent live in cities, and one-fifth are women.  Over 90 
percent of drug dependency cases are intravenous drug 
users.  Lithuania had 943 registered cases of HIV in 
October 2004, an increase from 735 cases at the beginning 
of 2002.  80 percent of those registered with HIV 
contracted the disease through intravenous drug use.  In 
2003, rates of Hepatitis B and C infection among 
intravenous drug users decreased by 26 percent and 35 
percent, respectively. 
¶4.  The number of 15-16 year-old students who have tried 
drugs at least once remained stable at approximately 15 
percent (15.6 percent in 2003, 15 percent in 2002). 
Health education programs have been integrated into 
school curricula, resulting in an increased awareness 
about the dangers of drug use.  Lithuania is a member of 
the international European School Survey Project on 
Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD 95, ESPAD 99, ESPAD 03) 
and monitors the fluctuations of data on substance abuse 
among children aged 15-16.  A 2003 survey showed that the 
consumption of cannabis, hashish, amphetamines, alcohol 
and tobacco is increasing, while the consumption of 
heroin and ecstasy is decreasing among Lithuania's 
student population.  According to an international survey 
published in 2004, 81 percent of children in foster care 
abuse alcohol, drugs, or glue. 
III. Country actions against drugs in 2004 
¶5.  Policy Initiatives.  In order to improve preventive 
measures, combat addiction, and bring Lithuanian law in 
line with the European Union's 1999 anti-drug strategy, 
the Government of Lithuania (GOL) enacted the National 
Drug Addiction Prevention and Drug Control Strategy for 
2004-2008.  The Strategy, initiated in April 2004, 
increases cooperation between national authorities and 
drug control organizations, promotes local government 
initiatives to prevent and control drug use, and 
increases the role of society in dealing with drug 
problems.  In 2004, the GOL provided 10.2 million Litas 
(USD 4.08 million) to the Strategy.  In 2004, more 
resources were allocated for initiatives that focused on 
prevention and rehabilitation than were allocated for 
fighting the trafficking and sale of narcotics.  EU 
structural funds, however, augmented GOL expenditures in 
support of strengthened national borders. 
¶6.  The GOL's Narcotics Control Department, which 
implements the Strategy and coordinates the efforts of 
the national and local governments, began operation in 
January 2004.  In December 2004, parliament created a 
Drug Addiction Prevention Commission.  The GOL continued 
to implement its National HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control 
Program for 2003-2008.  The program seeks to prevent the 
transmission of HIV/AIDS within high-risk groups 
(intravenous users, prostitutes, sailors, long-distance 
drivers, and prisoners).  In the summer of 2004, the 
Parliament annulled a provision in the Criminal Code that 
established alternative punishments (15 to 90 days of 
incarceration) for those convicted of drug distribution. 
Those convicted now face prison terms of between five to 
eight years. 
¶7.  Accomplishments.  Experts note that public awareness 
concerning the hazards of drug use is rapidly increasing. 
In 2004, the GOL allocated approximately 4 million Litas 
(USD 1.6 millions) for public awareness programs, 
primarily conducted by the Ministry of Education and 
Science and NGOs.  Police conducted separate awareness 
¶8.  Lithuania joined the European Monitoring Center for 
Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in May 2004.  Police 
continued to participate in a joint counter-narcotics 
operation with Sweden and Poland ("Trap") and in a 
multilateral operation "542" (against Rohypnol 
producers).  Under the PHARE "Synthetic Drugs and 
Precursors Project," police continued to receive training 
on how to strengthen controls over legally produced 
precursors and synthetic drugs and how to prevent the 
introduction of these substances into the illegal market. 
Another PHARE project helped the Customs Department to 
complete a technical assessment of equipment needed to 
better detect drugs moving across Lithuania's borders. 
All PHARE projects ended in 2004.  In May 2004, 
Lithuanian Customs joined Europol's "Case" expert group 
and began exchanging information on synthetic narcotics. 
¶9.  Law Enforcement Efforts.  The number of drug-related 
crimes increased in 2004.  By December 2004, Lithuanian 
law enforcement authorities registered 1,121 crimes (up 
from 886 in 2003).  In 2004, the police shut down a 
laboratory producing high-quality amphetamines.  The 
Customs Criminal Service initiated six narcotics related 
criminal cases in 2004 (13 in 2003, 14 in 2002, 8 in 
2001, 0 in 2000).  In December 2004, a Kaunas court 
sentenced three Lithuanian citizens to 10.5 years, 8 
years, and 2 years of imprisonment, respectively, for 
producing amphetamines. In the largest seizure of 2004, 
police seized 18,000 doses of LSD, 71,000 ecstasy 
tablets, 3 kilograms of marijuana, and 2 liters of 
precursors in November from a 19-year-old student who 
police believed to be a member of an organized 
trafficking group.  On December 31, 2003, in the largest 
seizure of the year, Customs officials confiscated 
300,000 Rohypnol pills (26 kilograms) at a Latvian border 
¶10. Corruption.  In December 2004, a parliamentary 
ombudsman, Kestutis Virbickas, resigned following 
findings that he had illegally intervened on behalf of a 
Lithuanian national standing trial for drug trafficking 
in Norway. 
¶11. Cultivation/Production.  An intravenous opium extract 
produced from locally grown poppies and the drug 
"Ephedrone," made from medications containing ephedrine, 
remain popular in Lithuania.  Police, in cooperation with 
Customs agents, destroyed 52,141 square meters of poppy 
plots (up from 31,426 in 2003 and 22,676 in 2002) and 196 
square meters of cannabis plots between June and 
September 2004 (down from 687 in 2003 and 1,884 in 2002). 
Underground laboratories produce amphetamines for local 
use and export. 
¶12. Drug Flow/Transit.  Drug transit channels remain 
¶13. Each year, more Lithuanian citizens become involved 
in the international narcotics business.  53 Lithuanian 
citizens (down from 118 in 2003) were detained in 2004 
for trafficking amphetamines, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, 
Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) and other pills, mostly in 
Norway (14), Germany (11), and Sweden (11).  There were 
no reports of Lithuanians being detained in Latin America 
(3 were detained in 2003 and 15 in 2002).  In a joint 
operation in May 2004, the Police Drug Control Office, 
Lithuanian Customs Criminal Service, and authorities in 
Sweden cracked an international drug distribution 
network.  Three Swedish citizens and eight Lithuanians 
were arrested and police seized 20 kilograms of 
amphetamines produced in Lithuania.  In the spring of 
2004, Lithuanian, Swedish, and Norwegian cooperation 
stopped a drug smuggling and production ring that 
included five Lithuanians, two Belarusians, and two 
Norwegians.  Approximately ten kilograms of amphetamines, 
six liters of liquid amphetamines, and several forged 
passports were seized. 
¶14. Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction).  Lithuania 
operates five national dependence disorder centers.  Ten 
regional Public Health Centers with local outlets work to 
prevent the use of drugs, especially in schools.  In 
2004, 20 rehabilitation centers (which together can 
service around 200 people annually) and 17 addict 
rehabilitation communities operated in Lithuania. 
Methadone treatment programs have operated in major 
cities since 1995, with 315 people receiving treatment in 
2003 (133 in 2002). 
¶15.  According to the Ministry of Justice's Prisons 
Department, in January 2004, 1,148 persons, or 14.4 
percent of all prisoners, are registered drug users.  In 
September 2004, 219 inmates were infected with HIV. 
After the HIV outbreak in the Alytus prison in 2002, the 
GOL allocated 2 million Litas (USD 800,000) for equipment 
and activities designed to prevent the trafficking of 
drugs, train officials, and educate inmates at the Alytus 
facility.  In May 2003, a reconstructed building capable 
of housing 300 HIV-infected prisoners opened in Alytus. 
In November 2003, a prevention and rehabilitation center 
for drug addicts and HIV-infected prisoners opened at the 
Pravieniskes correctional center. 
¶16. In 2002, cases of drug use were discovered among 
military conscripts.  433 conscripts were tested for drug 
use; 2.3 percent tested positive.  The most popular 
substances among conscripts are heroin and synthetic 
¶17. Treaties and Agreements.  In October 2003, the GOL 
signed cooperative law enforcement agreements with 
Europol and the Belgium Royal Government. 
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs 
¶18. Bilateral Cooperation.  USG and GOL law enforcement 
cooperation is very good.  In 2004, the U.S. continued to 
support GOL efforts to strengthen its law enforcement 
bodies and improve border security.  To strengthen 
regional cooperation in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the 
Baltic States and Russia, the U.S. funded "The Network of 
Excellence" project.  In June 2004, a U.S. court in 
Florida acquitted 11 Lithuanian sailors apprehended in 
June 2003 of drug trafficking charges following the 
seizure of 3.5 tons of cocaine aboard the merchant vessel 
Yalta.  In December 2003, Lithuania extradited an 
American citizen wanted for narcotics trafficking.  In 
2003, the Lithuanian State Security Department discovered 
a package suspected of containing counterfeit U.S. 
currency that was being sent to Minneapolis, Minnesota. 
The package also contained 100 tablets of Ecstasy.  A 
joint investigation by the State Security Department and 
U.S. Secret Service resulted in arrests in both 
countries, including that of a major organized crime 
figure in the city of Kaunas.  His trial is ongoing. 
¶19. The Road Ahead.  The USG looks forward to continuing 
its close cooperative relationship with Lithuania's law 
enforcement agencies.  Although Lithuania has made some 
progress in improving regulations and procedures and 
developing an export control infrastructure, it still 
lacks the professional skills to detect narcotics and 
clandestine labs.  In 2005, the USG will continue to 
promote increased GOL attention to the drug problem, and 
support activities aimed at preventing the production and 
trafficking of illicit narcotics.  In 2005, the DEA will 
provide training to Lithuanian law enforcement agencies 
on the investigation and seizure of drug laboratories. 
¶20. Table 1.  Narcotics seized by the Lithuanian Police 
in 2004 (January-November) and in 2003 
Per Calendar Year  2003  2004 (11 months) 
Poppy straw (kg)   269   349 
Poppy straw extract (l)53  45 
Cannabis Straw (kg)  --  -- 
Marijuana (kg) 30.1   4.7 
    30.1    4.7 
Heroin (kg)  0.8   1.85 
Ecstasy (tablets)  98,458  31,152 
Amphetamine (kg)   6.96   3.27 
Metamphetamine (kg)  24.72.19 
Cocaine (kg)   0.183   12.87 
Hashish (kg)  262.7   4 
Safrol (l)   20.2   20 
BMK (l)   34.6   14.5 
Police also seized small amounts of LSD, hallucinogenic 
mushrooms, various psychotropic drugs, and precursors. 
Table 2. Narcotics seized by Lithuanian Customs in 2004 
(January-November) and in 2003 
Per Calendar Year  2003   2004 (11 months) 
Heroin (g)  --  -- 
Cocaine (kg)   0.162  12.57 
Poppy straw (g)  --   -- 
Poppy straw extract (ml)  0.60  -- 
Opium (ml)  -- -- 
Marijuana (g)  8,190  0.4 
Hashish (g)--2.2 
Hallucinogenic Mushrooms (g)---- 
Metamphetamine (g)   --  300 
Amphetamine (g)   1.5   0.4 
Ecstasy (tablets)   21,000  30,720 
Customs also seized 20 kilograms of the First Category 
Precursor BMK and 150,000 units of various psychotropic