News briefing – week beginning 9 February

  • Benny Palmeri-Bacchi, a former Venezuelan judge, has been sentenced to over six years in prison for his role in ‘a major cocaine trafficking case’ that helped move Colombian cocaine through Venezuela, and was reportedly linked to the government of former president Hugo Chávez. In November he pleaded guilty to charges of extortion, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and money laundering conspiracy.
  • The Daily Mail has published an article examining the ‘Dark Net’ marketplace Middle Earth, where cocaine is priced at priced at 154.2 bitcoins (£22,572) for a kilogram, or 0.36 bitcoins (£53) for a single gram.
  • A two-day drug policy workshop for Civil Society Organisations in West Africa has been held. It was organised by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), in collaboration with the West Africa Commission on Drugs (WACD) and International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), with support from the USAID, OSIWA and the Kofi Annan Foundation (KAF). Security and governance in West Africa was a notable issue on the agenda.
  • The Union of South American Nationals (UNASUR) has officially committed to create a South American drug observatory, which will act as ‘a regional database system containing information on drug trafficking’.