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USA. U.S. deploys powerful scanners at border to fight fentanyl smuggling

NOGALES, Ariz. — The trucks packed with cucumbers, green beans and bananas inched forward in a long, looping line, waiting to come into the United States at the Mariposa port of entry, one of the border’s busiest crossings for Mexican-grown produce.

U.S. inspectors used to refer only a handful of drivers for cargo screening with powerful scanning equipment to check for illegal drugs.

But on a recent morning they routed every truck through a new drive-through machine the size of a carwash. Known as a “multi-energy portal,” the equipment has allowed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to scan nearly six times as much cargo per day. (The Washington Post, USA, 09.03.2023)


The post-conflict expansion of coca farming and illicit cattle ranching in Colombia. 

Murillo-Sandoval PJ, Kilbride J, Tellman E, Wrathall D, Van Den Hoek J, Kennedy RE. 

Sci Rep. 2023 Feb 3;13(1):1965. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-28918-0. PMID: 36737650; PMCID: PMC9898308.


USA/Mexiko. Trial of Mexico’s Former Top Cop Neglected U.S. Role in War on Drugs

Genaro García Luna was convicted on Tuesday of accepting millions in cartel bribes. But the information U.S. officials had went mostly unexplored. (The Intercept, USA, 22.02.2023)


Philippinen. ‘They were shot in the head’: morgue gives up truth of Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war

Crusading pathologist Raquel Fortun finds evidence of multiple murder at the direction of ‘a madman’ in the exhumed remains of young Filipinos. (The Guardian, UK, 25.02.2023)


USA/Mexiko. Prozess in New York: Bestechung durch »El Chapo« während Amtszeit – Ex-Minister Mexikos verurteilt 

Genaro García Luna war einst Sicherheitsminister in Mexiko – und hätte eine führende Rolle im Kampf gegen den Drogenhandel spielen sollen. Stattdessen nahm er Schmiergelder von Ex-Drogenboss »El Chapo« an. (Spiegel online, 22.02.2023)


Mexiko. Mexico Just Seized the ‘Biggest’ Fentanyl Lab in History

“This is no longer what we knew before—the small kitchens," said Mexico's president about the bust. Vice, UK, 16.02.2023)


How the Global Drug War Threatens Environmental Defenders

Ties between prohibition-fostered illicit groups, state forces and private interests drive the violence. (Filter, USA, 09.02.2023)


Kolumbien. Colombia’s most-wanted drug kingpin pleads guilty in New York

A Colombian man who was once one of the world’s most-wanted drug lords pleaded guilty Wednesday to US smuggling charges, admitting that he led a cartel and paramilitary group that trafficked in cocaine and deadly violence. (The Guardian, UK, 25.01.2023)


Afghanistan. OPIUM CULTIVATION IN AFGHANISTAN - Latest findings and emerging threats

Since the takeover by the Taliban in August 2021: 

1 Opium cultivation in Afghanistan increased by 32% over the pre-vious year to 233,000 hectares – making the 2022 crop the third largest area under opium cultivation since monitoring began.

2 Opium prices have soared following the announcement of the
cultivation ban in April 2022.

3 The income made by farmers from opium sales tripled from USD 425 million in 2021 to USD1.4 billion 2022 - the equivalent of 29% of the 2021 agricultural sector value. The sum still represents only a fraction of the income made from production and trafficking within the country. Increasingly larger sums are further accrued

along the illicit drug supply chain outside the country.

4 Seizures of opiates around Afghanistan indicate that trafficking of Afghan opium and heroin has not stopped. Afghanistan supplies 80% of global opiate demand. 

5 Most of the 2023 opium crop must be sowed by early November; farmers will take decisions on whether and how much opium poppy to plant amid severe economic disruption and humanitarian crisis, continued high prices for opium and uncertainty about how the de facto authorities will enforce the cultivation ban. UNODC, November 2022)


How the Drug War Fosters Devastating Land-Grabs

Few, if any of us, remain unaware of how industries can inflict catastrophic environmental damage—on renewable and nonrenewable resources from drinking water to the forests that act as carbon sinks, therapists and pharmacies, and on lands and traditional livelihoods. Less amplified is how illicit industries—and the policies that create them—can do just the same.

As a recent United Nations publication about drugs and the environment, part of last year’s UNODC World Drug Report, frankly admits, there has been relatively little research to date on the environmental impacts of illicit drug production, use, trade and prohibition and their interaction with legal (or mostly legal) industry. (Filter, USA; 23.01.2023)



UNODC Research, World Drug Report, 2022


UNODC. Myanmar Opium Survey 2022 Cultivation, Production, and Implications

2022 survey results point towards increased sophistication of farming practices and concentration of opium poppy cultivation (UNODC, 23.01.2023)


Philippinen. Maria Ressa, Philippine Journalist and Nobel Laureate, Is Acquitted of Tax Evasion

The verdict was a rare legal victory for Ms. Ressa, founder of the news site Rappler, who has been under pressure from the Philippine authorities for years. (New York Times, USA, 17.01.2023)


Mexiko. „El Neto“ genannt: Mexikanischer Bandenchef nach Flucht aus Gefängnis getötet

Ernesto Alberto Piñón de la Cruz, alias „El Neto“, soll bei einer Schießerei mit mexikanischen Sicherheitskräften in der Stadt Chihuahua schwer verwundet worden und kurz darauf seinen Verletzungen erlegen, teilte die Regierung mit. (RND – Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland, 05.01.2023)


Mexiko. Mexico prison attack kills 14, dozens of inmates escape 

At least 14 people died in a brazen armed assault on a prison in the Mexican border city of Juarez on Sunday, officials said. 

The Chihuahua state attorney general’s office said in a statement that 10 security guards and four prisoners were killed and 13 others were injured. (CNN, USA, 02.01.2023)


USA. Air Force to Scrap Planes Used to Surveil Drugs at the Border—Over Objections From Police

The United States Air Force is fast-tracking a plan to shutter the small fleet of planes used to surveil drug trafficking at the border, despite criticism from law enforcement partners who claim to be losing their greatest weapon in the War on Drugs. (Filter, 28.12.2022)


Mexiko. Cartel: Fentanyl’s deadly surge - Inside the daunting hunt for the ingredients of fentanyl and meth

(…) Cartels are increasingly manufacturing drugs entirely from chemicals, rather than relying on plants. If Mexico’s kingpins once owed their fortunes to rural fiefdoms of marijuana and heroin poppy, they now depend on a stream of chemicals, many of them arriving from China. Seaports, airports and postal facilities are critical. (Washington Post, 13.12.2022)


USA. Kampf gegen Drogen: US-Behörden beschlagnahmten 2022 genug Fentanyl »um alle Amerikaner zu töten« 

50,6 Millionen Pillen mit Fentanyl sichergestellt, dazu mehr als 4500 Kilogramm Fentanyl-Pulver: Das ist die Bilanz von US-Fahndern für dieses Jahr. Sie warnen vor der »tödlichsten Drogengefahr für dieses Land«. (Spiegel online, 21.12.2022)


Asien. Tse Chi Lop: 'Asia's El Chapo' extradited to Australia

Asia's most-wanted alleged drug kingpin has been extradited to Australia where he faces potential life imprisonment. (BBC, UK, 22.12.2022)


Kolumbien. From fighting to farming: Colombia’s ex-FARC seek alternatives to war

‘Peace is not only the silence of the guns. Peace is also social investment. Peace is generated employment. Peace is development. Peace is taking care of the environment.’ (The New Humanitarian, Genf, 07.12.20229


USA/Mexiko. The Cienfuegos Affair: Inside the Case that Upended the Drug War in Mexico

A Times Magazine-ProPublica investigation reveals how the U.S. painstakingly built a case against a Mexican general suspected of links to organized crime — and then decided to let him go. (New York Times Magazine, USA, 09.12.2022)


Kolumbien. Gescheiterter Kampf gegen die Drogen - Was tun mit dem ganzen Koks? 

Kolumbien produziert so viel Kokain wie nie zuvor – und die linke Regierung von Gustavo Petro erklärt den »Krieg gegen die Drogen« für gescheitert. Experten raten zur Legalisierung der Droge, um das Land zu retten. (Spiegel online, 30.11.2022)


Heat is rising as European super cartel is taken down in six countries

Between 8-19 November, coordinated raids were carried out across Europe and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), targeting both the command-and-control centre and the logistical drugs trafficking infrastructure in Europe. (Europol, 28.11.2022)


Why the Drug War Endures: Local and Transnational Linkages in the North and Central America Drug Trades - Volume 4 - 

Journal of Illicit Economies and Development, Issue 2 – 2022, 02.12.2022


Kolumbien. After Coca: How The Drug War Colonises the Colombian Forest

One of the first and consistent targets of the global War on Drugs has been the coca plant. Even after the Colombian peace agreements, American-sponsored international efforts to control drug supply will always focus on suppressing coca crops in their producing nations, no matter the cost.

While coca is a stable and profitable crop in local campesino (peasant farmer) cultivation, nationally and internationally, it is a target for eradication. While the dogged pursuit to eradicate all cocaine directly contributes to the systematic destruction of tropical forests across the Andean and Amazon region, the subsequent occupation of land by commercial agriculture businesses irrevocably transforms areas of high biodiversity and conservation importance into privatised pastures. (Talking Drugs, UK, 15.11.2022)


Belgien. Belgium needs more incinerators to burn seized cocaine

Authorities fear depots used to store drugs could become targets for robberies by gangs. (The Guardian, UK, 21.11.2022)


Philippinen. Philippines Undercounts Recent ‘Drug War’ Deaths

Police Claim of 46 Killed Far Below Independent Monitor’s Figure. (HRW – Human Rights Watch, USA, 17.11.2022)


Mexiko. Mexico: Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking Organizations

Mexican transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) significantly influence drug trafficking in the United States and pose the greatest drug trafficking threat, according tothe U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) annual National Drug Threat Assessment. These organizations control the market and movement of a wide range of illicit drugs destined for the United States; for this reason, they are commonly referred to as drug cartels and drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). These poly-criminal organizations also participate in extortion, human smuggling, arms trafficking, and oil theft, among other crimes. Homicide rate increases in Mexico are widely attributed to heightened DTO-related violence, often tied to territorial control over drug routes and criminal influence. (Congressional Research Service, USA, 07.06.2022)


Mexiko. Leaked Emails Show Mexico’s Military Sold Grenades to the Cartels

Members of Mexico’s military also offered tactical equipment, ammunition, and intel on government officials, for the right price. (VICE, 10.10.2022)


Irak. Crystal meth pours into Iraq across porous borders with Iran

On the road with Iraq’s drug squad as it struggles to keep up with the deluge. (Washington Post, USA, 17.10.2022)