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Asia the Next target for the Drug Cartels

Mexican soldiers unload bundles of seized marijuana before incinerating the drugs at a military base in Tijuana, Mexico.

David Maung | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mexican soldiers unload bundles of seized marijuana before incinerating the drugs at a military base in Tijuana, Mexico.

Latin American drug syndicates are sweeping into Asia, spurred by growing wealth, regional trade pacts that ease smuggling and some of the highest margins on offer.

Growth in the drugs trade, a significant part of an illicit economy worth more than $100 billion a year in east Asia alone, has led to a rapid rise in seizures: 254 million methamphetamine pills, for example, were intercepted in east and Southeast Asia in 2013 — a more than eight fold increase in just five years.

Officials warn that Asian law enforcement authorities are ill-equipped to cope with the rapid rise of drugs being smuggled across increasingly porous borders.

“Police and customs officials in Asia don’t often have connections in the Americas and have little knowledge of what may be coming their way,” said Jeremy Douglas, regional representative for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. “They don’t operate internationally. They’re about to have to.”

For those who are caught, the risks outweigh the rewards, with the death penalty operating for drugs offences in several Asian jurisdictions.

The Philippines, which has debated introducing the death sentence for drug offences, is the test bed for a pioneering case next month, when Mexican national Horatio Hernandez Herrera appears in court accused of being a high-ranking member of the notorious Sinaloa drugs cartel.

At a regional meeting in Bangkok last month, representatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations raised red flags, saying that despite the potential for economic growth and trade, the region’s rapidly increasing connectivity could leave borders vulnerable to transnational trafficking and smuggling.

“Strengthening skills, capacity and cross-border co-operation among border and port security agencies is therefore essential to counter rapidly evolving transnational crime challenges,” said Jakkrit Srivali, a top official with Thailand’s foreign affairs ministry.

 

Growing wealth in Asia has translated into heightened demand for cocaine, with emerging pockets of consumption, trafficking and trade, according to a report last year from the UN office.

Mexico’s infamous Sinaloa cartel, whose head Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán staged a sensational jailbreak last month, has been pinpointed as a key supplier by authorities across Asia-Pacific.

The Jalisco New Generation cartel, an aggressive newcomer to Mexico’s drug wars that achieved notoriety in recent months after shooting down a military helicopter, is also targeting markets in Hong Kong and Japan, according to Canacintra, a Mexican business chamber.

“The severe penalties, such as life imprisonment or even the death penalty, for traffickers caught in Asia are reflected in the exorbitant price of the drugs there,” organisation president Rodrigo Alpízar Vallejo told media in Mexico.

Asia-Pacific economies offer much higher profit margins than the cartel’s traditional markets. In Hong Kong, a kilogramme of cocaine can sell for up to three times the price it would in the US. In Australia, it can be as much as six times, according to police and experts.

Meanwhile, according to financial crime investigators, the cartels will be closely studying regional trade deals, such as the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership, for clues about the liberalisation of certain routes or the reduction of tariffs on certain goods, which could be used to hide contraband and assist in the trade-based repatriation of smuggling profits.

“Anything that is going to increase the volume of trade, the efficacy of trade, is also going to increase the opportunity and bandwidth of criminals to move their products and launder funds,” said Bill Majcher, who worked with American and Canadian federal police.

“Over the past few decades I have seen a dramatic increase in trade-based laundering closely correlated with the opening up of transnational trade zones and treaties,” said another investigator, who asked to remain anonymous due to ongoing operations.

Robert Evan Ellis, professor of Latin American Studies at the US Army War College and an expert on the region’s relations with China, said the deal would “expand opportunities for transpacific organised crime by increasing trade volume, and the number of banks and companies doing transpacific transactions”.

However, he noted that regional ties fostered by the deal would “indirectly help increase law enforcement and transpacific legal frameworks that will help combat the cartels”.

Credit; Bryan Harris Financial Times

 
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Posted by on 09/25/2015 in Crime!, Mexican Drug Cartels

 

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4 tons of Marijuana located in Reynosa

Inside an underground cellar, elements of the Federal Police claimed nearly 4 tons of marijuana, 100 kilos of cocaine and 60 kilos of a substance suspected crystal, in Reynosa, Tamaulipas.

four tonnes of drugs located

four tons of drugs located in Reynosa

The staff of the institution located on a corner in that city, where a cache that contained 91 packages of green grass, apparently marijuana, plus 63 envelopes with a substance with the characteristics of the crystal and approximately 100 kilos of white powder, apparently cocaine .

This work resulted from the Liaison and field research with the Federal Police.

With the information gathered, operational staff belonging to the divisions of Federal and Regional Security Forces learned that in a place known as El Berrendo, located in Reynosa-Monterrey highway, was a warehouse used to store various types of drugs and weapons.

For this reason, we conducted an operational review and perimeter security in the area, where they set up a garbage dump that hid the entrance to an underground cellar, the bank said in an official communiqué.

When performing an inspection, the Federal Police located approximately 3,900 kg of green grass with the characteristics of marijuana, two packages with at least 100 kilos of what appeared to be cocaine.

To follow up on the investigations, the seized drug was made available to the Public Prosecutor of the Federation, which will determine the precise weighing of the suspected drug.

 
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Posted by on 03/14/2013 in Drugs

 

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cocaine seized in Reynosa valued at one million dollars

International crossing Agents were alerted to the presence of 13 packages, weighing a total of 14.30 kilograms

Customs seizes cocaine in Reynosa valued at one million dollars

Reynosa, Tamaulipas, – Customs Agents and Border Protection (CBP, for its acronym in English) seized a shipment of cocaine valued at one million dollars in the international crossing that links this city with Hidalgo, Texas.

CBP spokesman, Phillip Barrera, said that during that seizure a person was arrested  driving a Ford 500, model 2006, when he tried to enter U.S. territory across the border.

He said the driver was sent for a second inspection with the help of high-tech equipment and canine units trained to detect narcotics.

He said that the officers were alerted to the presence of 13 packages, weighing a total of 14.30 kilograms of cocaine, with an estimated market value of one million U.S. dollars.

He said that the driver, 51-year-old Mexican and living in Reynosa, was arrested and drugs and the vehicle was made available to the Department of Homeland Security (HSI, for its acronym in English).

Phillip Barrera added that correspond to a federal judge sentencing the prisoner, after he tried to enter the United States more than 14 kilograms of cocaine.

 
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Posted by on 09/12/2012 in Crime!, Drugs

 

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CARACAS , liquid cocaine intercepted headed for Mexico

Authorities in Venezuela today intercepted 20 tons of chemicals, liquid cocaine allegedly in a boat in Zulia state (northwest) bound for Mexico, the Interior Minister Tarek El Aissami. ”

CARACAS , liquid cocaine intercepted headed for Mexico
CARACAS , liquid cocaine intercepted headed for Mexico

 

We just intercepted a boat that was carrying four containers with a gross weight of 20 tons of chemicals, “the minister said in a speech broadcast on state television. The Assami explained that after a “first review and guidance tests “detected the presence of liquid cocaine in the four containers were destined for Mexico, specifically to the coastal city of Veracruz (center).

“We are currently developing, analyzing the percentage of purity that is in each of containers and the amount of liquid cocaine was intended to bring to Mexico, “he added. “is one of the largest seizure operations we have done in the history of Venezuela, a blow to drug trafficking,” he said.

The minister said in the operation developed by the National Guard (GNB-military police), three people were arrested, one Colombian national, and stressed that they are making “other raids.”

The GNB and other police during 2011 seized a total of 42.33 tons of various narcotics, of which 26.3 were cocaine, The Aissami revealed in March.

 
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Posted by on 06/27/2012 in Crime!, Drugs

 

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Sniffer Dog found cocaine hidden in decorative figures in Queretaro, QRO

Queretaro, QROMexican Army elements located a kilogram of cocaine hidden in decorative figures , which in turn were in a box in the parcel service of a courier company in Queretaro Intercontinental Airport.

harley-queretaro
harley-queretaro found the cocaine

In a statement sent to reporters by the 17th Military Zone based in the city of Queretaro, reported that the finding was finalized during the review carried out by courier service, with the support of the dog “Harley”, specializing in the detection of drug. The canine located a cardboard box with nine metal frogs, of which five contained white powder clear bags apparently cocaine, packaged in a tupperware type plastic container. In the other contained only four frogs inside a bag of white powder.

The Mexican Army made ​​available to the Federal prosecutor aforementioned substance to begin with the relevant expertise. In the statement of information, the Secretary of Defense (SEDENA) stresses that this is the first time, which is located a package of its kind in Queretaro Intercontinental Airport this year. In 2011, as revealed by the 17 military zone, eight seizures were recorded with different substances and methods hiding in the same place

 
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Posted by on 01/05/2012 in Crime!, Drugs

 

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Spain: Dismantled band that used children and babies to smuggle drugs

Schiphol Plaza/NS on Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

Image via Wikipedia

An organization of “mules” used children and babies to smuggle cocaine from European airports, including hiding the drugs in his swaddling clothes, was dismantled by Spanish police in collaboration with the Dutch and Belgian, officials said Monday.

Following investigations were “detained 20 people -16 in Spain, 2 in Belgium and 2 in Holland and seized 11 kilos of cocaine hydrochloride,” Spanish police said in a statement.

The detainees used minors “to avoid suspicion and even to hide the drugs on its infants,” police said in a statement that said that members of the organization “flying from South America with drug amounts ranging from 1 to 5 kilos. “

Among the detainees – some of whom are Dominicans – figure a Spanish couple, arrested with a kilo and a half of cocaine in Amsterdam-Schiphol airport, which had concealed part of the drug in the trunk of his son, hidden between diapers.

Some members of the network of drug dealers living in Zaragoza, northern Spain, the statement said.

In addition to Schiphol, other arrests took place in a Belgian airport in Barajas, Madrid.

 
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Posted by on 11/28/2011 in Crime!

 

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Lisbon Report-New Drugs have become the New Challenge facing Europe!

Lifetime prevalence of cannabis use among all ...

Image via Wikipedia

The regular appearance of new drugs, some of them sold through the Internet as a legal substance, is the “challenge of the decade” facing Europe, warned the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

In its annual report, released Tuesday in Lisbon, the Observatory estimates that cocaine could “have reached a plateau,” while the “cannabis is declining among young people.” Meanwhile, consumption of synthetic drugs such as ecstasy and amphetamines, is “generally stable or declining.”

In terms of new substances, 39 of them were identified earlier this year, after the 41 reported to the EMCDDA and Europol in 2010. Currently, more than 150 substances are monitored by the European early warning system (EWS).

“The rapid emergence of new psychoactive substances are not controlled – often sold under the name ‘euphoric legales’ – is a growing challenge in Europe and internationally,” says the EMCDDA.

Given this situation, “the drug policy and European responses must be set now to meet the challenges of the next decade,” said Wolfgang Götz, EMCDDA Director.

The main difficulty to stop that progress lies in the “increased interaction” between the markets of “legal highs” and illegal substances, according to the report, highlighting the emergence of a record number of 600 online shops selling psychoactive substances.

The EMCDDA cites, among others, mephedrone, a synthetic drug upcoming ecstasy or cocaine, both sold online as “legal highs” and “through illegal networks.”

Most of the new substances are synthetic cannabinoids, cathinone (Khat) and derivatives of synthetic drugs such as ketamine or phencyclidine.

“A picture of the world in which we live, the drug market evolves rapidly and increasingly globalized, ready to adapt to threats and opportunities,” said Götz.

In contrast, the situation is slightly more optimistic with regard to cocaine and cannabis.

“Some evidence suggests that positiovos cocaine use might have reached a plateau, and the use of cannabis is losing ground among young people,” says the report.

These “clues” is the fact that countries like Denmark, Spain, Italy and Great Britain (four of the five countries where consumption levels are the highest in Europe) showed “a decline in cocaine use in the During the last twelve months among young adults (15 to 34 years) “, a trend also observed in Canada and the United States.

The economic crisis currently affecting many European countries may partially explain the decline, given the relatively high cost of cocaine (50 to 80 euros a gram), says the EMCDDA.

In parallel, the number of seizures of cocaine, constantly increasing, went from 56,000 in 2004 to 99,000 in 2009.

The EMCDDA indicates, moreover, that the decrease in consumption of cannabis may be linked in part to the snuff, since the two substances are often consumed together. However, cannabis remains the drug “more popular in Europe.”

In respect to amphetamines and ecstasy, the EMCDDA highlights the trend of the last five years shows a use “generally stable or in decline” among people aged between 15 and 34.

 
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Posted by on 11/16/2011 in Drugs

 

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