News briefing – Week of 10 April

  • German police seized more than 800 pounds of cocaine (380 kilograms) in Cologne, dissimulated in cases of bananas shipped from Ecuador. The haul represents the biggest seizure in the history of the city.
  • 26 employees of American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and DHL, as well as airport cleaning services and restaurant workers have been arrested at the Luis Munoz Marin airport in the capital San Juan, Puerto Rico. The individuals have been accused of money laundering and drug trafficking, using bathroom stalls to smuggle cocaine into the United States. The international airport of San Juan remains a major transit hub for drug smugglingi n the Caribbean.
  • Spanish police intercepted 267 kilograms of cocaine hidden in bags of coal at the port of Algeciras – one of the largest ports in Europe situated on the Bay of Gibraltar – bound to Israel from Colombia. Israel represents a strategic point for drug smugglers, being at the crossroads of Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle-East.
  • Europol and Brazil signed an agreement to reinforce cooperation in combating transnational organised crime in the country which has seen an exponential increase in international and regional cyber crime. The agreement implies intelligence sharing as well as operational and logistical collaboration in key areas such as migrant smuggling, human trafficking, cyber crime, drug trafficking, asset recovery and money laundering.
  • Another crime reporter has been shot in Mexico, in the coastal city of La Paz. Maximino Rodriguez Palacios, 72, who had been writing for the news organisation the Pericu Collective, is the fourth journalist to be murdered by alleged drug cartels in just six weeks’ time. Mexico is the world’s third most dangerous country for journalists, 124 reporters having been killed since 2000.
  • Tanzania has approved the extradition to the United States of Ali Khatib Haji Hassan, the alleged leader of a global drug trafficking ring. His arrest comes after a two-year manhunt which started after more than 200 kilograms of heroin had been discovered in the country in 2014. Hassan is accused of smuggling heroin from Pakistan, Iran and South America into China, the United States and Europe for over a decade.