Newsbriefing – Week of 30 September

The poaching and smuggling of marine life are increasingly treated as organised crime in South Africa. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing have traditionally been dealt with as fisheries management issues by the government, resulting in low penalties for offenders. But regional initiatives like FishFORCE, training law enforcement officers and prosecutors, have resulted in greater awareness of environmental crimes. The last three abalone racketeering cases in South Africa were prosecuted as organised crimes.

Argentina is taking an increasingly collaborative approach to fighting drug trafficking in Latin America. Argentinean and Chilean police forces have signed an agreement to cooperate against organised crime, which recently led to joint operations against a synthetic drug ring in both countries. Argentina also teamed up with Paraguay to crack down on marihuana trafficking, and is leading a new effort against smuggling at the Tri-border with Brazil and Paraguay.

German and French Justice Ministers expressed their support for Eurojust and its ongoing fight against cross-border organised crime. With Eurojust officials, they discussed how to optimise trans-European judicial cooperation at both bilateral and EU level. They explored avenues for expanding multinational cooperation and making the best use of Eurojust’s legal expertise and judicial tools, such as joint investigation teams, coordination meetings and coordination centres.

Spanish authorities seized four tonnes of cocaine in a crackdown against a drug trafficking ring. The year-long investigation targeted the largest Spanish drug trafficking group in the Levante region, in the east of the country. Spain’s national police also arrested 81 suspects and 20 million euros worth of goods including luxury cars and a 25-metre-long yacht.

Drug seizures are on the rise in the small British island of Jersey, in the Channel. 179 seizures were made in 2018 against 140 in 2017. Figures from this year’s first semester almost equal those of 2018 over twice the period.

The Colombian navy arrested three suspected drug traffickers off the Colombian coast near Tumaco in the Pacific. The suspects were using bales of cocaine to stay afloat following a shipwreck. A total of 1.2 tonnes of cocaine were recovered by the navy.