Newsbriefing – week of 6 May

The European Commission Joint Research Center (JRC) has developed a new fast screening tool for the identification of new psychoactive substances. This field-deployable device will help customs identify new drugs not yet registered in their database. Samples can be measured through a packaging container, thereby reducing the risk of exposure to dangerous substances.

Europol has supported Spain in dismantling a criminal organisation providing large-scale crypto-money laundering services to other criminal organisations, freezing several bank accounts and arresting eight people for their involvement in the money laundering scheme. The operation was a follow-up of operation Guatuzo that took place in 2018.

Brazil’s former president Michel Temer surrendered himself to police on May 9, over his alleged involvement in the vast Lava Jato corruption scandal, which centers the Brazilian oil company Petrobras. Temer was first jailed in March but released a few days later. The Lava Jato probe, launched in 2014, unveiled complex corruption schemes among the highest echelons of power.

Irish Tax and Customs Annual Report show a huge surge in the amounts of cocaine, heroin, cigarettes and illegal alcohol seized in 2018. 195 kilos of heroin and cocaine were seized in 2018, compared to 27 kilos in 2017. However, cannabis seizures drastically dropped from 3.1 tonnes to half a tonne.

Between January and April 2019, 23 persons were arrested for drug trafficking and 27 seizures were made at Lagos airport, Nigeria. With just over 100 kilos of different drugs seized in four months, drug seizures seem to be dropping when compared to the combined five tonnes seized in 2018.