News briefing – week beginning 9 March

Colombian security forces have reportedly killed a long-serving FARC commander with strong links to international drug shipments, Jose David Suarez, also known as ‘El Becerro‘.

In Peru, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (Minagri) has reportedly officially approved a programme to convert hundreds of hectares of coca fields into alternative crops in the VRAE region. Coffee, cacao and pineapple crops will be planted instead.

Nearly 1,000 delegates have gathered in Vienna for the 58th Session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (UNODC).

The Pope has expressed concern over drug trafficking, allegedly saying that “there are countries or regions that are now totally in thrall to the drug trade“.

A report by the UK Government’s advisory council on the misuse of drugs (ACMD) has said that a two-tier cocaine market has emerged in the UK, with a low-purity trade running parallel with a smaller one in a more expensive version of high purity.

The high price of cocaine in Lebanon and other African countries is reported to be attracting Bolivian drug dealers to the region.

A drugs gang operating in Bristol, UK, has been jailed for more than 80 years. They are reported to have attempted to import cocaine diluted in energy drinks, along with cannabis and ecstasy, from Jamaica.

Russia’s drug control chief has allegedly claimed the Islamic State earns over US$1 billion a year from heroin trafficking.

A man from Kent, UK, has died from cocaine poisoning in Peru after he had reportedly swallowed 25 bags of liquid cocaine in an attempt to smuggle them out of the country.

Six members of a drugs gang have been jailed for importing kilos of cocaine and heroin into Grimsby, UK. The cocaine was reportedly supplied from Liverpool.

In Italy, police operations against the ‘Ndrangheta mafia continue as officers reportedly closed down two high profile tourist restaurants in Rome and seized assets worth €210 million.