News Briefing – Week of 1 June

1/06/2020 – As law enforcement focuses of the Coronavirus lockdown measures, a substantial increase in cannabis cultivation in Albania is anticipated. Recent seizures indicate that the Balkan route remains a favoured trafficking route for Europe destined cannabis. Albania is also about to conclude a draft law which allows for the cultivation of medical cannabis in the country.

1/06/2020 – Following a short vehicle pursuit, which ended when the driver lost control of his vehicle, Argentinean authorities discovered and seized over 800 kg of marijuana.

3/06/2020 –

 ‘Operation Silver Axe’ is a pan European operation let by EUROPOL to tackle the trafficking of illegal pesti

cides. Involving an average of 30 countries, it has been organised every year for the past five years. In

2020, the operation led to the seizure of 1,346 tons of illegal pesticides and led to 260 new investigations. Despite the regular seizure of illegal pesticides in Europe, only a few cases are taken to court. Overall, the trade in all pesticides is estimated to be worth €11 billion per year in Europe, of which 10% is thought to involve illegal, counterfeited or substandard products. Illegal pesticides are increasingly sold online.

4/06/2020 – 600kg of herbal cannabis was seized in a lorry in Northern Ireland following a joint operation involving the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). Three suspects were arrested. This seizure is the biggest ever made by the NCA in Northern Ireland.

4/06/2020

 – French authorities seized over 100 tonnes of illicit drugs in 2019, an increase of 3.5% when compared with seizures recorded in 2018. The 2019 statistics indicated that seizures included 52.3 tonnes of c

annabis and 8.8 tonnes of cocaine. During the same period, seizures of synthetic drugs increased by 56% and the seizures of methamphetamines by 400%. Aside from drugs, 360.3 tonnes of tobacco was seized and criminal assets amounting to 87.2 million euros were confiscated.

4/06/2020 – The European Commission published the report: “Asset recovery and confiscation: ensuring that crime does not pay”. This report identifies the importance of a cohesive approach to financial investigat

ion and establishes the framework incorporated  across much of Europe. Continuing on from the 2014/42/EU directive on the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime, the European framework on asset confiscation has also been strengthened by the adoption of the regulation on the mutual recognitio

n of freezing orders and confiscation orders that will support improved cross-border cooperation.

4/06/2020 – Turkish authorities seized 82kgs of heroin following a raid on a cargo company located in the Van pro

vince.

4/06/2020 – Dutch authorities seized 374 kg of cocaine in a container at the port of Rotterdam. Two suspects were arrested in connection with the discovery that is estimated to have a street value of approximately 28 million euros. 

5/06/2020 – The Office Central des Stupéfiants (OCS) in Maili, has recorded the following seizrues in 2019: 5.1 tonnes of canna

bis, 6kg of heroin and 5kg of cocaine. In addition. The OCS has also indicated the seizures of

70,372 Tramadol tablets, 15 701 Diazepam tablets, 3,844 Ephedrine tablets  and 112 methamphetamines tablets.

7/06/2020 – Customs officers at the Port of Rotterdam discovered 2,020 kgs of cocaine, valued at more than 151 million Euros, hidden inside a sea container full of bananas. The shipment had arrived from Guayaquil, Ecuador, and was destined for Hungary.