News briefing – week beginning 23 February

  • Jamaican lawmakers have passed an act to decriminalise small amounts of marijuana, and establish a licensing agency to regulate a medical cannabis industry.
  • Colombian police have reportedly seized 3.3 tonnes of cocaine, close to the border with Panama. Police believe they were being transported to Mexico.
  • The Pope has apologised to Mexico in regard to the revelation that he had told a friend he hoped Argentina would ‘avoid Mexicanization’. It was later clarified that he only intended to ’emphasise the seriousness of the phenomenon of the drug trafficking that afflicts Mexico and other countries in Latin America’.
  • Franco Roberti, Italy’s most senior anti-Mafia prosecutor, has claimed Calabria’s ‘Ndrangheta Mafia has beaten the Sicilian  Mafia for control of organised crime in northern Italy. The ‘Ndrangheta has risen to prominence through its control of Europe’s cocaine trade.
  • A married couple have been arrested in Surrey, UK, following a ‘long and complex investigation’, after they were caught red-handed repackaging a shipment of cocaine estimated to be worth around £5.25 million.
  • Mexican authorities have arrested the country’s most wanted drug lord, Servando ‘La Tuta’ Gomez. Police had spent months gathering intelligence on his whereabouts.
  • Peru’s National Commission for the Development and Life without Drugs (Devida) has delivered technological equipment worth over US$100,000, intended to equip radio interception bases  in the fight against drug trafficking.
  • According to a report from the Venezuelan Directorate of Military Intelligence, five commanders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are operating from southwest Venezuela, including the use of clandestine runways for aerial drug trafficking.