Tanzania is a significant transit country for illicit drugs, most notably heroin originating in Afghanistan and cocaine from South America, 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, coupled with high levels of corruption and porous borders, present 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, Asia, 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. Precursor chemicals obtained primarily from sources in Asia are brought through Tanzanian ports, and used to produce methamphetamine and psychotropic substances in clandestine labs within Tanzania to supply domestic and international markets.
The Tanzanian Drug Control Commission, the Tanzania Intelligence and Security Service, and the Tanzanian Police Service’s Anti-Narcotics Unit 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. In March 2015, to address perceived flaws in previous anti-drug legislation, Tanzania’s Parliament passed the Drug Control and Enforcement Act, which established a Drug Control and Enforcement Authority and other government agencies to coordinate anti-drug use and trafficking efforts.
Extradition between Tanzania and the United States is governed 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 can be provided on a reciprocal basis through letters of request.
There were several successes targeting illicit drug trafficking organizations operating in and through Tanzania in 2015, including two convictions against significant traffickers. In November, a Tanzania court convicted Chukwudi Okechukwu, who was arrested in 2011 for smuggling cocaine with a street value of approximately $1.4 million. In September, Fred William Chonde was convicted for trafficking 180 kilograms of heroin in 2011.
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 to 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.