News Briefing – Week of 4 January

Spanish authorities seized  three tonnes of cocaine  coming from Colombia and arrested 12 alleged traffickers from Spain, Britain and the Netherlands. Seven-hundred kilos of cocaine were hidden in the bottom of a van, while the other 2.3 tonnes were disguised in the form of wooden pallets.

According to a statement from the Nigerian National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in 2015 the Lagos and Murtala Muhammed Airport commands arrested 577 alleged drug traffickers. Aliyu Sule, Lagos State Commander, also declared that a total of 7,315 kg of various drugs were seized last year.

Ghanaian journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, who disclosed massive cases of judicial corruption in Ghana during September 2015, has been interviewed by the BBC. The video of the interview can be found here.

The Interior Minister of Uruguay declared that marijuana accounted for most of the illegal drugs seized in 2015 according to the data provided by the Directorate General for the Suppression of Illicit Drugs Trafficking (DGRTID). Last year, national and international drug enforcement units seized more than 2.5 tons of marijuana, nearly 135 kilos of cocaine and 67.6 kilos of cocaine paste.

Bello Haliru Mohammed, the former Nigerian Minister of Defence, has been charged with money laundering and diverting funds for the procurement of arms. He was arrested in relation to an investigation into a $2 billion arms deal.

Bolivian President Evo Morales declared that in 2016 he will fight to persuade the United Nations to decriminalize trade in coca leaf. In 2013, he was able to persuade the organisation to proclaim coca chewing legal in Bolivia. Nevertheless, the United Nations maintained the prohibition on international trade in coca leaf due to its potential use for producing cocaine.

Gisela Mota has been killed one day after swearing in as new mayor of Temixco, in Mexico. According to the authorities, Mota was presumably killed following her declarations regarding a frontal and direct fight against organised crime in the city and the surrounding area.

According to a study published in the journal Health Affairs, the increase of violence and homicides related to the drug war in Mexico has caused male life expentancy rates to drop by approximately seven months. According to the authors, the decline in life expentancy is directly related to drug war as after 2005, when Felipe Calderon deployed federal forces against the drug cartels, the homicide rate has gone up.

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been captured in Los Mochis, Mexico, after he escaped a maximum security prison in July 2015. During the operation that led to the arrest of the notorious drug lord, five cartel members were killed and six others were arrested.