Newsbriefing – Week of 16 December

 

The Irish Guarda considers expanding its network of liaison officers in South American countries. Organized crime groups in Ireland operate worldwide and almost of the cocaine trafficked in Ireland comes from South America. This is all the more a worrying trend as the volume and purity of cocaine have both increased. For the time being, the Irish Guarda has posted officers where Irish organized crime groups operate, in particular the UK, France, Spain or the Netherlands.

The accounts of a journalist and two media outlets were frozen following a libel suit linked to a corruption scandal involving the former head of customs services in Kyrgyzstan. They have just been unfrozen following a Kyrgyz court decision.

An EU-wide investigation into the darknet’s second-largest counterfeit currency producer and 36 coordinated raids in Germany, Austria, France, Greece Ireland, Luxembourg and Spain led to the arrest of 11 suspects. The investigation was triggered in July 2019 after the Portuguese police dismantled a print shop. The group sold more than 26 000 counterfeit banknotes, which were mostly distributed through the illicit platform named Wall Street Market and taken down by German prosecutors in coordination with EUROPOL, EUROJUST, the DEA and the FBI in May 2019.

The Netherlands most wanted drug trafficker was arrested in Dubai. The organisation he allegedly runs is linked to 9 assassinations and a number of murders attempted in the Netherlands. The suspect is also thought to be part a cartel in Europe that controls a third of all the cocaine trafficked in Europe.

The chairman of the most important Dutch police union declared that the Netherlands have the characteristics of a narco-state, referring to the infrastructure, the amounts earned by organized crime groups, and the parallel economy. His declaration echoed the murder a few weeks ago of a lawyer in Amsterdam working on drug trafficking cases, other series of incidents linked to local organized crime groups and the fact the Netherlands is particularly vulnerable because Rotterdam is a major port of transit.

Deaths from overdose in Portugal rose by almost 30% in 2018, according to the data from the Intervention Service in Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies (SICAD). Opiates, cocaine and methadone were the three main substances detected, associated most of the time, with other substances, the first of which being alcohol. The SICAD stressed that it indicates a greater circulation of drugs in the Portuguese market and that Portuguese consumption market is growing while Portugal was – so far – mostly used as a transit country to other European countries.