2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report

It has been a while since much attention was focused on the DPRK’s capacity to produce narcotics for export, however, the DPRK did get a mention in the US Department of State’s 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.

Here is what the report had to say (Source here):

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea)

Drug use may be rising within the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea), according to reports from DPRK refugees and travelers to North Korea. Chinese and South Korean press reports indicate that a substantial volume of methamphetamine continues to be produced within DPRK territory, mainly for transshipment to China. There are also reports of transactions between DPRK traffickers and large, organized criminal groups along the DPRK-China border, and of Chinese police enforcement targeting drugs entering China from the DPRK by way of enhanced patrols, periodic arrests, and drug seizures. However, the Chinese government rarely identifies the DPRK as the source of illicit drugs.

The proximity and availability of precursor chemicals in China likely contribute to the production of methamphetamine within North Korea. Reliable information is difficult to obtain regarding illicit activities within the DPRK territory, but drug production and other criminal activities, such as the counterfeiting of cigarettes, appear to have continued in 2012. There is insufficient current information, however, to confirm official DPRK state involvement in drug trafficking. There have been no confirmed reports of large-scale drug trafficking involving DPRK state entities since 2004. This suggests that state-sponsored drug trafficking may have ceased or been sharply reduced, or that the DPRK regime has become more adept at concealing state-sponsored trafficking of illicit drugs.

Despite the absence of reports of drug seizures linked directly to DPRK state institutions, the United States cannot entirely rule out the possibility of official DPRK state involvement in the manufacturing and trafficking of illicit drugs. A relatively large investment in precursor chemicals is necessary to produce the volume of methamphetamine trafficked from North Korea, and it is unclear how individual criminals could independently organize such activity within such a tightly-controlled state. It is likely that some official corruption on both sides of the DPRK-China border facilitates drug trafficking.

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