Newsbriefing – Week of 9 March

Turkish authorities announced that 2384kgs of heroin has been seized as a result of international operational cooperation with five countries and EUROPOL. The seizures are the result of an investigation that followed a seizure of 300kgs of heroin in Genoa, Italy, back in 2018. The biggest seizure of 1105kgs was made in Kazakhstan, 703kgs in Germany, 350kgs in Poland, 171kgs in the Netherlands and 55kgs in Turkey. The drugs were mainly thought to be destined for the European market.

According to the latest wastewater analysis report conducted by the EMDCCA and published in March 2020, MDMA – the active ingredient in Ecstasy,  is increasingly used across Europe and in particular within the Netherlands. Analysis indicated that Antwerp, in Belgium, was the European city with the highest cocaine use. Tests to detect amphetamines were also carried out and results indicated that the Swedish cities of Stockholm and Gavle displayed the highest concentration levels.

Brazil has long been considered a drug consuming country, however nowadays, has become a major trans-shipment country for Europe destined cocaine. Port seizures over the past few years in Spain and Belgium indicate the significance of the problem and the prominence of Brazil as a favoured transit location for international drug traffickers. Brazil shares borders with Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, countries that have seen increases in coca production and processing capability.

A Balkan cartel has been dismantled following an international operation that was led by Montenegro, supported by EUROPOL and involved 7 countries. The investigation, that started in 2017, identified a drug trafficking organisation that was moving cocaine from central America and the Caribbean into Europe. In 2018, the investigation supported the discovery of 840kgs of cocaine from a catamaran in Portugal and subsequent enquiries led to the arrest of 12 individuals who are all suspected of being connected with drug trafficking.

Acting on information, Dutch patrol officers attended an address in Amsterdam where drugs paraphernalia was obvious through the properties windows. Whilst seeking judicial authority to enter and search the property two suspects fled the address.  One suspect was captured and the other escaped. Upon entry to the premises police discovered 100kgs of heroin with a street value of between 2 and 4 million Euros.

Illegal logging in Romania is of national and international concern. Well organised illicit wood trafficking is negatively impacting on communities and destroying the natural environment. Where legitimate loggers have stood up to the mafia style criminality, lives have been lost and many believe that it is impossible nowadays to remain within the law to compete and make an honest living. The situation has been recognised at the highest levels however many believe that not enough is being done to tackle this situation.