Newsbriefing – Week of 23 September

Iranian police have seized nine tonnes of illicit drugs destined for Europe in the province of West Azerbaijan, on the border with Turkey. The shipment, which was hidden inside a petrol tanker, comprised of 3.5 tonnes of morphine and 5.3 tonnes of opium. Weapons as well as cocaine and crystal meth were also found. Iran is a major transit route for Afghan-produced opiates heading towards Europe. In 2017, Iran accounted for 91% of the world’s heroin seizures, amounting to 694 tonnes.

The European Union and Japan will be negotiating an agreement to allow the transfer and use of passengers’ data (PNR data), in an effort to prevent and combat terrorism and transnational organised crime via general aviation.

According to the first edition of the ENACT Organised Crime Index, Sao Tome and Principe has by far the lowest crime rate in Africa, followed by Tunisia. The index is calculated on the prevalence of criminal markets (e.g. human, wildlife, arms and drug trafficking), and the influence of criminal agents (e.g. mafia, criminal networks, foreign criminal agents). The most crime-plagued countries are Nigeria, followed by DR Congo, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Somalia.

French and Bulgarian authorities, with the support of Europol and Eurojust, dismantled an organised crime group involved in trafficking human beings for labour exploitation. 167 victims were employed by four winegrowing companies near Lyon for no wages and housed in a precarious campsite.

Rhino poaching is decreasing in South Africa, from 1,215 animals killed in 2014 to 318 in 2019. The country is home to 80% of the world’s rhino population and is battling with illicit trafficking of rhino horns to Asian markets. The government success lies in involving local communities in conservation efforts, tougher court prosecutions and harsher controls in airports.