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Growing Importance of Ukraine as a Transit Country for Heroin Trafficking: U.S.-Ukraine Research Partnership (From Prediction and Control of Organized Crime: The Experience of Post-Soviet Ukraine, P 101-120, 2004, James O. Finckenauer, Jennifer L. Schrock, eds., -- See NCJ-204368)

NCJ Number
Mary Layne; Mykola S. Khruppa; Anatoly A. Muzyka
Date Published
20 pages
This chapter examines the drug smuggling operations emerging in Ukraine and provides a methodology for estimating the magnitude of the amount of heroin transiting through Ukraine.
Since gaining its independence from Soviet rule, Ukraine has become an important transit country for Southwest Asian heroin bound for European markets. Factors contributing to the utilization of Ukraine as a conduit for the drug trade include porous borders, understaffed and underfunded counter-narcotics entities, and the rise of organized crime networks. Adding to the problem is the fact that Ukraine has surfaced as an opiate producer in its own right, cultivating approximately 300 hectares of poppy in 2000. This chapter outlines the types of drugs smuggled through Ukraine, routes taken, conveyances employed to smuggle drugs, and introduces a methodology for measuring the amount of heroin smuggled through Ukraine annually. Such an annual estimate will provide law enforcement with a means of measuring the demand for drugs and the effectiveness of anti-narcotic activities over time. Background facts on heroin cultivation and production are offered and include an analysis of heroin cultivation in Ukraine, Southwest Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The scope of the drug problem in Ukraine is reviewed; drug abuse in Ukraine has been increasing since 1990 according to the Ministry of Public Health of Ukraine. The high prices of heroin and cocaine draw most Ukrainian users to domestically cultivated poppy; as such, there has been a steep rise in its cultivation, especially in western and northern Ukraine. In terms of law enforcement efforts, Ukraine has entered into a large number of international legal instruments and bilateral agreements that speak to Ukraine’s willingness to cooperate internationally. Next, the chapter maps the heroin trafficking routes from Southwest Asia and the main drug trafficking routes in Ukraine. Finally, tentative estimates for the amount of heroin transiting Ukraine are made, with the caution that estimates of illicit drug use are notoriously difficult to make. As such, a low estimate, a high estimate, and a mean estimate are provided. The low estimate of the total amount of heroin transiting Ukraine is set at 8.9 metric tons; the high estimate is 20 metric tons; and the mean estimate is 14.4 metric tons of heroin. Improved intelligence on drug smuggling operations will improve estimates. Figures, tables, notes, references


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