News Briefings – Week of 21 March

The Spanish police arrested a number of Dutch citizens smuggling between Malaga and the Netherlands. More than 500 kilos of drugs were seized. In total the Spanish police seized 242.7 kilos of marijuana and 420 kilos of hashish.

A recent report on drug trafficking in Venezuelan border state Zulia draws attention to a key cocaine corridor that may become increasingly active in the near future. According to the report, one of the main routes begins in Paraguachón in La Guajira. Drug shipments are then moved along the Limón River towards the area south of Lake Maracaibo and into the Zulia state capital Maracaibo. Zulia is allegedly a key base for top commander of the FARC and for members of the ELN’s central command.

A sociology expert told Peruvian media there are a number of “narco-candidates” running for office, including for president, in the country’s April 2016 general elections that puts the South American country at risk of becoming a narco-state. The researcher described the front runner party as the “main force” fielding narco-linked candidates.

On the occasion of his visit to Argentina, US President Barack Obama promised new developments in the relations with the country: one of the main pillar of the re-newed relationship is the fight against drug trafficking and money laundering, against which Argentina and US will work together exchanging information, technology and trainings.

The UK government will provide technical expertise to the Nigerian government in its ongoing fight against corruption. The partnership would assist in tracking terrorism, money laundering and other forms of organised crime.

The Inter-Government Action Group against Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) declared that Nigeria will need to have laws that criminalise money laundering and terrorist financing in accordance with relevant international conventions, enhance transparency and availability of beneficial ownership information of legal persons and facilitate international cooperation among others. This would enable the country to scale through on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) second round of mutual evaluations.

Colombia has announced it is starting formal peace talks with the country’s second largest rebel group, the ELN. Government and ELN negotiators made the announcement in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, where the two sides have been holding informal talks.

US Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations agents intercepted a semi-submersible, on which they found almost 6 tons of cocaine, estimated to value US$193,939,000. The vessels, reportedly built in Colombia, are designed to travel just below the waterline, generally small crew, a captain, navigator and a guard.

In a report by a Salvadorian newspaper, it was declared that eight months since the beginning of the implementation of “Plan Seguro” in El Salvador, no relief from homicides, extortion, and other crimes attributed to the gangs active in Ciudad Delgado has been brought to residents. Despite the heavy, militarized police presence and mass arrests of suspected gang members, no concrete results have been observed since July 2015.