Newsbriefing – Week of 9 December

The Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly 12th Ordinary Plenary session took place in Panama City, Panama, on 12 and 13 December. The Assembly, through its Co-Presidents’ declaration, expressed “concern at the alarming rise in organised crime and the complex international networks behind it, as well as the enormous capacity it has to corrupt officials at all levels, bribe consciences and ensure it takes place with impunity. The various practices of organised crime, such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling, illegal arms trafficking and others, are becoming ever more interwoven in a complex web that exceeds the capacity of individual states to react”. The Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) is the parliamentary institution of the Bi-regional Strategic Association, established in June 1999 in the context of the EU-CELAC Summit (between the EU, Latin American and the Caribbean). EuroLat was created in 2006 and meets in a plenary session once a year.

Over 2 tons of cocaine were seized in Antwerp in the last week of November. The drug was hidden between bags of fertilizer that were being shipped in a container from Colombia and destined for the Netherlands. The controlled delivery led to the arrest of a suspect in the Netherlands.

Genaro Garcia Luna, a former minister who oversaw the creation of the Mexican federal police and who was considered an architect of Mexico’s war on drugs, has been arrested on the grounds that he allowed the Sinaloa cartel to operate with impunity in exchange for briefcases stuffed with cash.

The Croatian National Police Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime, in collaboration with the prosecutor’s office, tax administration and customs, and in cooperation with Europol, conducted a complex international criminal investigation of an organised crime group (OCG) for acting in a criminal enterprise, tax evasion, money laundering, forgery of documents and fraud.

Dutch authorities seized in the port of Vlissingen about 1,200 kilograms of cocaine. The drugs were discovered hidden in a banana shipment that was delivered to a company based at the port.

Although less visible in Europe than in some other countries, such as Brazil or Mexico, organised crime is expanding in Europe, including in Germany. The journalist Anabel Hernández  states that Germany has long been a focus of transnational organized crime gangs, most of which operate in the drug trade. There has been an alarming increase presence in the presence of OCGs in Germany, in particular in Nord Rhine Westphalia, a region strategically well located, as it shares borders with the Netherlands and Belgium. Germany is taking steps to strengthen its means of action against those groups and their expansion.