News briefing- week beginning 18 August

• California’s state assembly gave final legislative approval to a bill proposing to lower the penalty for the sale of crack cocaine to the same as that for powdered cocaine.

• Costa Rican police arrested 6 drug traffickers at the country’s southern border with Panama in possession of 121kgs of cocaine. Seven handguns, a sub-machine gun and bulletproof vests bearing the initials ‘DEA’ were also confiscated from their vehicle.

• Spanish police dismantled a Colombian maritime cocaine-smuggling group in cooperation with the U.S. Drugs Enforcement Agency.

• Paraguayan police arrested a customs agent in connection with an 850kg cocaine shipment discovered en route to the DRC.

• The UNODC announced plans  to implement a four-year programme in Myanmar aimed at boosting the government’s drug interdiction capacity.

•Police in Honduras seized more than 50 properties in a series of raids against the powerful Los Valles drug-trafficking organization. Also this week, the US Treasury adopted its own sanctions against the group under the Kingpin Act.

• Officials from the UNODC announced that Southeast Asia’s market for synthetic drugs had “exploded” in recent years

• A member of the US House Judiciary Committee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security made claims that the Islamic State may maintain links to certain Mexican drug-trafficking cartels

• Azerbaijan and Iran made moves towards strengthening joint drug-interdiction efforts along their shared border