News briefing – week beginning 2 March

  • Mexican security forces have arrested Omar Trevino Morales, known as ‘Z-42’, the leader of the Zetas drug cartel. He is believed to have run the cartel since his brother was captured in 2013, and had a reward for his capture of US$2 million from the Mexican government, and US$5 million from the government.
  • A retired police general in Bolivia, responsible for reorganising the country’s counter-narcotics force, is being investigated for drug trafficking ties.
  • Belgian police have reportedly discovered sixteen packages floating in the sea, comprising a ton of cocaine, valued at more than 50 million Euros.
  • The UK’s Border Force have reportedly seized around 90 kilograms of cocaine and 63 kilograms of heroin, from an ice cream lorry in Dover. The drugs are estimated to be worth around £7 million.
  • The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has released a report which argues that Jamaica has become ‘a hub for the trafficking of cocaine’, owing to the displacement of trafficking routes as the result of countermeasures in Latin America.
  • Australian police have reportedly charged six men on drug smuggling charges after Colombian police seized more than 580 kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamine as part of a joint operation.
  • According to the UN, the cultivation of coca has stagnated in Colombia, and significantly decreased in Peru. A report by the INCB believes Peru is close to losing its status as the world’s largest producer of coca.
  • Peru is still yet to start its crop substitution programme, aimed at replacing coca crops in the VRAE region, which was supposed to have started last year.  The country’s Minister of Agriculture, Juan Manuel Benites, has said that the initiative is due to start in March, with 2,000 hectares of substitute crops aimed to be planted within three months.
  • In Peru, the ‘curul vacia’ (’empty seat’) law, passed in November, which seeks to eliminate the infiltration of corrupt “narco-involved officials” within the government, is set to be reviewed.
  • The holiday resort of Ibiza, which is reported to be “plagued” by cocaine and ecstasy in the summer tourist season, is to receive help from British police officers this summer.