Czech Republic Country Drug Report 2018

Drug markets

Cannabis is the most frequently seized drug in the Czech Republic. Monitoring data indicate that the quantities of seized cannabis products are continuing to increase, although there are diverse trends for different products. In addition, domestic production of cannabis has been on the increase. Cannabis is grown in both natural and artificial conditions. Although cultivated cannabis is mainly intended for the domestic market, cultivation on a large scale and for export, predominantly to neighbouring countries, has also been reported. Organised criminal groups of Vietnamese descent have contributed to the emergence of large-scale cannabis cultivation, although, in recent years, these groups have also engaged in the production and distribution of methamphetamine (pervitin).

Methamphetamine is the most frequently seized stimulant. Available information suggests that, although it is primarily produced for the domestic market, sizeable quantities are exported to neighbouring and Northern European markets. Production of pervitin takes place predominantly in low-volume home-based laboratories, which can be easily relocated to avoid detection, although an increase in the proportion of high-volume laboratories operated by organised groups has been noted in recent years. Medicines containing pseudoephedrine are the main precursor used in methamphetamine production. In 2009, restrictions on the sale of pseudoephedrine-containing medication were introduced in the Czech Republic, which was followed by a significant rise in the illegal importation of such medication, mainly from Poland. Following the restrictions on the sale of pseudoephedrine-containing medication introduced in Poland in 2015, the medication is now primarily illegally imported from Turkey, with Poland remaining a significant transit country for these operations. Moreover, the operational data suggest that cross-national criminal groups involved in the trafficking and production of pervitin are shifting some of their operations across the border, mainly to Poland, with the aim of shortening the precursors’ trafficking route and minimising associated risks. In 2016, a high-volume amphetamine production facility, reportedly producing mainly for export, was seized in the Czech Republic for the first time.

Cocaine seizures show significant annual variations and exceptionally large-volume seizures are probably not intended for distribution in the Czech drug market. The drug enters the Czech Republic mainly from Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands by couriers and in postal deliveries.

In recent years, heroin seized in the Czech Republic has been reaching the country increasingly via the Southern Caucasus route (from Iran via Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to Ukraine or Moldova), continuing a trend favouring this route over the historically significant Balkan route. In 2013-16, buprenorphine-containing medication, fentanyl patches and morphine-based painkillers were also seized from the illicit market. Sporadically, cases of home-based opioid production (from codeine or morphine) are also reported in the Czech Republic.

MDMA/ecstasy is not produced domestically and is mainly imported from the Netherlands.

Regarding new psychoactive substances (NPS), cathinones and synthetic cannabinoids seem to dominate. In 2016, 44 NPS (mainly synthetic cathinones and synthetic cannabinoids) appeared for the first time in the country.

Taking into account the nature of the illicit drug market in the Czech Republic, the law enforcement agencies focus their activities on detection and prevention of illegal drug trafficking activities, mainly linked to pervitin and cannabis, in the regions bordering Germany, Austria and Poland.

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