Tanzania is a significant transit country for illicit drugs, including cocaine and heroin, with a growing domestic user population. Tanzanian drug trafficking organizations and courier networks operate globally with cells throughout Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. These Tanzanian drug trafficking organizations play a prominent role in the Southwest Asian heroin trade. Tanzania also produces cannabis both for domestic consumption and international distribution.
Tanzania’s geographical location presents considerable challenges to supply reduction strategies. Traffickers exploit Tanzania’s 854 mile coastline along the Indian Ocean. There is inadequate security at Tanzanian seaports, specifically those in Dar es Salaam’s Kinondoni District and the Tanga Region in the north. Southwest Asian heroin is transported in multi-hundred kilogram quantities by dhows, small oceangoing vessels, across the Indian Ocean to the Tanzanian coastline. Once the heroin arrives in Tanzania, it is distributed to retail markets and user populations throughout Africa, Europe, and North America. South American cocaine is brought into Tanzania by commercial air couriers arriving on international flights to Dar es Salaam for further distribution to other African locations and Europe. South American cocaine is brought into Tanzania by commercial air couriers arriving on international flights to Dar es Salaam for further distribution to other African locations and Europe.
The Tanzanian Drug Control Commission (DCC), the Tanzania Intelligence and Security Service (TISS), and the Tanzanian Police Service’s Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU) each contribute to their government’s fight against illicit drug trafficking. These agencies also work jointly with foreign law enforcement partners to include those from the United States. Extradition between Tanzania and the United States is governed in principle by the 1931 U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty. There is no mutual legal assistance treaty in force between Tanzania and the United States, though mutual legal assistance is provided on a reciprocal basis through letters of request.
There have been several recent successes targeting illicit drug trafficking organizations operating in and through Tanzania. In February 2014, major drug kingpin Ali Khatib Haji Hassan was arrested by Tanzanian law enforcement prior to his departure from Dar es Salaam for Johannesburg, South Africa. Operation Rip Tide, a joint maritime drug interdiction force operating in the Indian Ocean and comprised of international partner countries including the United States, has also experienced numerous successful seizures since 2012. These interdiction operations have resulted in the seizure of approximately 5.76 metric tons (MT) of heroin, 22.44 MT of hashish, and 685 kilograms of methamphetamine.
The Government of Tanzania does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or trafficking of illicit narcotics or other controlled substances as a matter of policy. However, corruption remains an enormous barrier to effective narcotics enforcement. Drug traffickers use their considerable financial resources to influence politicians, law enforcement officers, and others in positions of power.
The United States seeks promote improved interdiction operations and limit the corrosive effects of drug-related corruption in Tanzanian institutions through law enforcement cooperation and by encouraging a strong Tanzanian government commitment to narcotics interdiction and criminal justice capacity building.