News Briefing – Week of 14 March

Officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested four Mexican citizens accused of being responsible of the establishment of a massive lab for the production of methamphetamines in Delta. Four Nigerians, suspected of owning the facility, were detained as well. The drugs were reportedly destined to Singapore and Malaysia.

Colombia’s government will be launching an experimental programme for reducing coca crops in Tumaco. Tumaco is one of the municipalities that has been most affected by the conflict with the FARC. This anti-coca strategy is based on the agreement made during the peace talks between the government and the guerrilla.

Colombia police have arrested a German national accused of trafficking cocaine for the country’s largest neo-paramilitary organization, “Los Urabeños.” According to the police, the German national had direct contact with “Otoniel,” the boss of the neo-paramilitary group and the country’s most powerful drug lord.

“Foundation Ideas for Peace”, a Colombian think-tank, published a report that would help inform the government’s approach against microtrafficking. By looking at marijuana, cocaine, and crack cocaine seizures in Bogota, Medellin and Cali during 2014, the study examines whether other variables – such as the proximity of the seizure to other reported crimes, like robbery or homicide – has a relationship to where drugs are most frequently seized.

Former presidents of Colombia, Mexico and Brazil have written an open letter denouncing the war on drugs and calling for substantive policy reforms ahead of next month’s momentous meeting of the UN General Assembly (UNGASS) to assess the global drug problem. The three presidents (Brazilian Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Colombian Cesar Gaviria and Mexican Ernesto Zedillo) also warned that the world is in danger of missing an opportunity to change this approach when the UNGASS convenes in April to discuss the global drug problem.