News briefing – week beginning 18th May

  • Diosdado Cabello, Venezuela’s parliamentary speaker, has denied involvement in cocaine smuggling, following US reports that he is under investigation for trafficking and money laundering.
  • A plane carrying over a tonne of cocaine crashed into the Caribbean following a pursuit by the Colombian air force.
  • The use of caterpillars which feed on coca plants has been touted as a replacement measure for spraying crops with glyphosate in Colombia.
  • Ecuadorian police have arrested eight people believed to be part of an international drug-trafficking ring, after seizing 253kg of cocaine on its way to China, reportedly from Colombia.
  • 1 tonne of cocaine has been seized from a yacht in Spanish waters, following a joint operation by Serbian, Spanish, and Croatian law enforcement agencies. It is believed to have been en route to Western Europe, from South America.
  • Research from the University of Surrey, UK, has demonstrated that tests for cocaine use can be conducted, just by looking at a person’s fingerprints. The test can differentiate between people who have ingested cocaine and those who have just touched it.
  • Raheem Bailey, head of an international drug smuggling gang, has been jailed in the UK for 15 years for smuggling over £5 million worth of cocaine into the country, from the Caribbean, hidden in children’s toys and jigsaws.
  • The Organised Crime Portfolio research project, funded by the EU, has found a key distinction between the structure of organised crime groups in the UK, compared to socio-geographically based ones found in places such as Italy.