Newsbriefing – Week of 13 May

Peru tries to curb illegal gold mining in the Amazon with new Operation Mercury. Since February 2019, authorities evicted 25.000 illegal gold miners and deployed hundreds of policemen and military troops for the long term in the Tambopata region, a centre for illicit mining. Illegal mining Madre de Dios is linked with drug trafficking and prostitution.

Mombasa, Kenya remains a nexus for drug trafficking along the Heroin Route. A new police report revealed 52 people have been arrested for drug trafficking since April 2018, most of them foreigners coming by boat. The city’s proximity to the sea and the country’s porous borders make Mombasa attractive to drug traffickers.

At Entebbe International Airport, Uganda, police have seized close to one-million-dollar worth of heroin and arrested seven suspects linked with drug trafficking. Heroin from Afghanistan transits via East African countries like Uganda before going to European and American markets.

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) announced it would need to double its budget to adequately fight crime in the country, reaching 2.7 billion pounds over a three-year period. The agency pointed out the traditional model of organised crime groups is rapidly changing with the internet and the dark web, which facilitate drug trafficking, hard-to-track cryptocurrencies and money laundering.

Colombia’s attorney general resigned in protest in mist of political crisis, after a special court charged with prosecuting war crimes (JEP) denied a U.S. extradition request for a former FARC leader accused of smuggling 10 tonnes of cocaine worth 320 million. The tribunal could not establish whether the alleged drug trafficking took place before or after the peace accord.