Strengthening technical knowledge related to cocaine cultivation, production and laboratory criminal techniques

CRIMJUST, UNODC Colombia and the government and police of Colombia recently teamed up to combat the growing and global challenges posed by cocaine cultivation, production and trafficking.  A joint training programme to strengthen the technical knowledge related to cocaine cultivation, production and laboratory criminal techniques was conducted in Colombia from 6 to 11 November. Twelve officials from Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Cabo Verde, Colombia and Peru, participated at the training.

As a pilot initiative developed by CRIMJUST and UNODC Colombia, the workshop supports the implementation of the relevant recommendations outlined in the Outcome Document of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS), which called for Member States to increase cooperation and adopt narcotic strategies to address the challenges posed by drug trafficking.

A participant representing the Ministry of Security of Argentina considered that seeing the production site and learning about the background of cocaine cultivation and production gave a new perspective on the global issue of cocaine trafficking, providing great help to be applied in future cases.

The 5 days training programme focused on two main topics, namely the cultivation, extraction and crystallization process, as well as, the practice chain of custody and handling of chemical substances.

The programme included site visits to a laboratory for identification of clandestine cocaine production laboratory setups. The workshop allowed participants to gain a better understanding of the recent trends in the cocaine production, and to identify best practices in its detection and investigation, which enables improved skills to counter drug trafficking.

In this regard, strengthening knowledge in relation to drug production and trafficking constitutes an essential factual evidence for experts and law enforcement practitioners. It provides the unique opportunity for officials of administrative control bodies and operational institutions from several countries in Europe, Latin America and Africa to learn general technical aspects, as well as specialized aspects related to drugs and chemical substances used in its production along with field and laboratory criminal techniques. As a result, beneficiaries are able to design efficient strategies in order to respond to the multiple manifestations of drug trafficking.

The outcomes of this event have strengthened both, UNODC’s and European Union ongoing technical assistance activities along the cocaine route in Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa.