Newsbriefing – Week of 17 June

German authorities have seized 670 kilos of heroin in a truck at the Polish border worth €50 million. The drug most probably came from Afghanistan and was disguised as Turkish sweets. The illicit drug was heading towards Belgium. This is the largest heroine seizure ever made in Germany’s law enforcement history.

Operation Tayrona has led to the seizure of 19 tonnes of cocaine from March to June 2019. This transnational counter-trafficking operation targeted vessels smuggling cocaine and illicit firearms from Colombia to the EU. 583 suspects were arrested. CRIMJUST, a programme from the CRP, Europol, INTERPOL, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard also supported the operation.

The crackdown by Peruvian authorities on illegal gold mining in the Amazon may push former miners to violent crime, coca cultivation and illegal logging. Despite a $160M government plan to reintegrate 5.000 out of work miners into the formal economy, up to 40.000 people depended on illegal mining for their livelihood and may be enticed by other lucrative illicit activities already widespread in the region.

Mexican organised crime groups are increasingly smuggling unrefined coca base out of Colombia and processing it in Mexico. Coca base is cheaper than cocaine, so smugglers can lose more to interdiction. Although it doesn’t indicate a wholesale takeover by Mexican cartels in Colombia, this new shift in the cocaine trade shows growing influence over the entire supply chain by Mexican criminal groups.