News briefing – week beginning 26 January

  • Venezuelan officials have denounced a report that links the head of the country’s congress, President Diosdado Cabello, to the drug trade.
  • Georgian police have seized an amount of cocaine valued at US$2.5 million at the Ninotsminda/Bavra border crossing with Armenia.
  • In Nigeria, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has “smashed” a drug trafficking cell in Lagos, who specialised in trafficking to China. To date, five people are said to have been arrested and 34.605kg of cannabis and 1.175kg of heroin has been seized.
  • Italian police have arrested 160 alleged members of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia, considered the most powerful crime syndicate in Italy. They are reported to have amassed wealth as the principal importer of cocaine produced in Latin America and smuggled into Europe via North Africa and southern Italy.
  • Honduran President Juan Hernandez has said the country’s use of military forces to combat drug gangs has led to a fall in violence in the country. According to Hernandez, the murder rate in 2014 fell to 66 per 100,000 inhabitants – down from the 90.4 per 100,000 inhabitants recorded by the UN in 2012.
  • Portuguese police have dismantled an “important drug trafficking network” following a 10-month investigation. Three men were arrested charges with selling cocaine and hashish in Lisbon.
  • Two men have been sentenced to a combined 34 years for planning to smuggle cocaine valued at £28.5 million from Los Angeles to London.
  • William Brownfield, assistant secretary of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, has said the Caribbean is regaining its status as a preferred transit route for cocaine into the US – increasing from 4% of all inbound cocaine in 2011 to 17% in 2014.