Between 20 and 24 November, CRIMJUST held a 5 day working group meeting in the city of Santos, Brazil, home to one of Latin America’s largest and busiest container sea ports. In accordance with the Brazilian federal police and NCB Brasilia, the first two days of the meeting by INTERPOL brought together customs and police from numerous Brazilian sea and river ports, from Manaus all the way to Santos and including Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Belem and Bahia. This was the very first initiative encompassing all Brazilian port authorities around the same table, and it generated a fruitful stream of exchanges and questions among the participants, which included representation from SEACOP.
The second segment (22-24 November) of the CRIMJUST workshop brought in port experts from Ghana, Cape Verde, the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom along with CRIMJUST beneficiaries from Nigeria, Argentina, and Bolivia. Chile, Paraguay and Spain were also strongly represented by well-informed delegations, as were France, Germany and the USA who were represented by their respective police/customs liaison officers based in Brazil. Each delegation offered clear and productive presentations on the flow of cocaine from Brazil to their respective countries followed by prolific intelligence sharing sessions.
In addition, the Brazilian Federal police organized a tour of one of the multiple container terminals which led to a rich flow of questions and observations regarding the differences in search and clearance procedures used in each participating country. One of the major contributing factors to the wealth of information shared between the delegates was the inclusion of customs authorities from numerous ports. Each agency holds a significant and complimentary role in tackling the unprecedented flow of cocaine into Brazil -by their own estimate now the world’s second largest cocaine market – and from there to Europe and other foreign destinations such as Turkey, West Africa and the Mediterranean.
The 41 participants were exposed to police presentations focused on the identified activities of numerous national and foreign Organised Crime groups while Customs presentations provided in depth detail on smuggling techniques giving vivid demonstrations of the ease in breaking and replacing container seals.