Newsbriefing – Week of 14 October

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez faces street protests calling for his ouster after a US court found his brother guilty of cocaine and weapons trafficking. The US Justice Department also concluded narcotraffickers had bribed the president and his party for his 2014 election campaign.

The Financial Action Task Force, the intergovernmental body dedicated to combatting money laundering, has committed to developing good practices in tackling the financial flows linked to illegal wildlife trade at its Plenary meeting in Paris.

Mexican authorities briefly detained Ovidio Guzman, one of El Chapo’s sons, who has emerged as a leading figure of the Sinaloa cartel, before releasing him over military-scale attacks. The decision to detain and release one of Mexico’s most wanted is a display of the cartel’s ability to overwhelm state’s capacities.

The German, Czech and French police with the support of Europol dismantled a Belarusian organised crime group involved in international cargo thefts. The group was targeting trucks and is suspected of stealing half-a-million-euro worth of cargo since the beginning of the year.

Turkish police seized 152 kilos of heroin hidden in beehives in the country’s southwestern Mugla province. Turkey is on the so-called Balkan route along which heroin is being transported from Afghanistan where it is produced to European markets.

A joint operation led by Austria and Spain and supported by Europol identified almost 500 victims of human trafficking and arrested 162 suspects in 23 European countries.

Irish officials point out to a cocaine epidemic in the Republic of Ireland. In certain part of the country, local supply has increased by 14% since 2018, and detections of drugs for personal use has risen by 46%.

The Kenyan city of Mombasa, the largest port in East Africa, is becoming the Indian Ocean’s new drug trafficking hub. Heroin from Asia and cocaine from Latin America now transit through Kenya before heading to Europe. It is also a growing public health concern with local drug use rising.