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Mexiko. Mexico’s Fentanyl Crisis Reached New Heights in 2020

Trafficking of the deadly opioid fentanyl skyrocketed in 2020 throughout Mexico, solidifying the synthetic drug’s status as a top criminal economy and the country’s role as an international trafficking transit point. (InSight Crime, USA, 14.01.2021)

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/mexico-fentanyl-crisis-2020/

Russland. Revealing Trends in Russia’s Dark-Web Drug Markets

(…) It was after 2010 that the popularity of dark-web drug marketplaces began to grow in Russia. Supplying people with illegal drugs was increasingly done remotely—but not by mail, as in North America and Western Europe, because the mostly state-run Russian mail is checked thoroughly. Instead, it is typically done by means of zakladki or “dead-drops.” Stashes of substances are hidden for customers to pick up—placed on magnets in the entrances of apartment buildings, for example, or buried in flower beds or in forests. (Filter, USA, 16.12.2020)

https://filtermag.org/russia-dark-web-drugs/

DarkMarket. Ermittler schalten einen der größten Darknet-Schwarzmärkte ab

Auf dem DarkMarket ließ sich von Drogen bis Falschgeld viel Verbotenes kaufen. Jetzt haben deutsche Ermittler den mutmaßlichen Betreiber festgenommen. Auch Käufer und Verkäufer stehen nun im Fokus. (Spiegel online, 12.01.2021)

https://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/web/darkmarket-ermittler-schalten-einen-der-groessten-illegalen-marktplaetze-ab-a-38521dd7-17ab-465c-ba02-1e1b3e867e6e

Hezbollah denies any role in production of amphetamines

The leader of Lebanon's militant group Hezbollah has denied accusations it is involved in amphetamine production. (BBC, UK, 10.01.2021)

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-55602726

Illicit drug prices and quantity discounts: A comparison between a cryptomarket, social media, and police data. 

Moeller K, Munksgaard R, Demant J. 

Int J Drug Policy. 2020 Oct 9:102969. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102969. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33041184.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955395920303078?via%3Dihub

Mexiko/Europa. Inside the Sinaloa Cartel’s Move Toward Europe

Police agencies have long known that Mexican drug cartels help supply Europe’s nearly US$10 billion annual cocaine habit, but acknowledge they have little idea about the workings of these highly organized and well-financed operations.

But now, a recent Italian police investigation, code-named Operation Halcon, has provided the most in-depth look yet into how Mexico’s leading drug traffickers, the Sinaloa Cartel, do business in Europe. IrpiMedia, OCCRP’s Italian partner, obtained access to police files and surveillance reports that show the cartel’s methods in unprecedented detail. (OCCRP - Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, 15.12.2020)

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/inside-the-sinaloa-cartels-move-toward-europe

Mexiko. The cartel project: ‘They’re culpable’: the countries supplying the guns that kill Mexico’s journalists

Many of the weapons used in the murders of 119 journalists were imported – and Mexico’s laws and culture make tracing them impossible. (The Guardian, UK, 11.12.2020)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/09/mexico-cartel-project-weapons-import-trafficking

Mexiko. How Opioid Addiction in the U.S. Fuels a Crisis for Farmers in Mexico (Video)

As Americans turn to fentanyl, poppy growers in Mexico turn to migrant work and organized crime. (The Intercept, USA, 06.12.2020, Video, 09:24)

https://theintercept.com/2020/12/06/opioid-fentanyl-poppy-mexico-farmers/

Emerging evidence of Afghanistan’s role as a producer and supplier of ephedrine and methamphetamine

EMCDDA, David Mansfield (lead author), Lissabon, November 2020 

https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/system/files/publications/13410/emcdda-methamphetamine-in-Afghanistan-report.pdf

Stop ignoring China's other killer export: fentanyl 

As coronavirus infections continue to rise, the pandemic has remained a key focus of the 2020 presidential campaign. At the same time, another health threat has taken hundreds of thousands of American lives and has hardly been mentioned: the opioid crisis, which is being driven by China's other killer export, fentanyl. (The Hill, USA, 31.10.2020)

https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/523752-stop-ignoring-chinas-other-killer-export-fentanyl

UK. Just a Child

The exploitation involved in ‚County Lines‘ is an urgent call for action. (DDN News, UK, Oktober 2020, Seiten 6-7)

https://view.joomag.com/ddn-october-2020-we-have-a-unique-role-in-breaking-county-lines/0449859001601886993/p8?short&

How and why vendors sell on cryptomarkets. 

Munksgaard R & Martin J 2020. 

Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 608. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. 

https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi608

Mexiko. Farmers to stop military burning poppies; it’s their only source of income

They say authorities have failed to deliver on promises of education, health and road improvements. (Mexico News Daily, Mexiko, 07.10.2020)

https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/farmers-to-stop-military-burning-poppies/

Myanmar. Farmers in Myanmar Call for Justice

At the start of each planting season, U Min (not his real name) tills the soil to prepare for his new crop of opium poppy. With each strike of his hoe, he thinks about the people he must pay a “tax” to before he can take any profit for his family. 

“The first strike is for the regional police commander, the second for the ethnic armed militia patrol,” he says, “the third is for the Myanmar military, the fourth for the village administrator; the fifth is for the drug trafficking organization who issued me seed on credit; and, finally, the sixth is for me and my family.” 

This is the complex plight of opium farmers in the remote and mountainous part of the country. (OSF – Open Socety Foundations, USA, 28.09.2020)

https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/farmers-in-myanmar-call-for-justice

UK. Cannabis farms are a modern slavery 'blind spot' for UK police, study suggests 

Migrants arrested for tending plants in the flats, houses and attics where cannabis is grown in bulk are often victims of trafficking and 'debt bondage' – yet many are not recognised as such by police, according to a new study. (University of Cambridge, UK, 15.09.2020)

https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/cannabis-farms-are-a-modern-slavery-blind-spot-for-uk-police-study-suggests

Indien. Drugs, Guns And Four Stories From The Northeast

Chemicals from India help make heroin in Myanmar, which in turn has devastated India’s northeast with the help of venal druglords, politicians, and even some elements of the armed forces. (Outlook, Indien, 25.09.2020)

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-drugs-guns-and-four-stories-from-the-northeast/360878

Mexiko. The Jalisco New Generation Cartel uses drones armed with C-4 explosive to kill its rivals

This is not the first time the Jalisco New Generation Cartel uses drones. (El Universalt, Mexiko, 30.08.2020)

https://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english/jalisco-new-generation-cartel-uses-drones-armed-c-4-explosive-kill-its-rivals

HIV-1 phylodynamic analysis among people who inject drugs in Pakistan correlates with trends in illicit opioid trade. 

Cholette F, Joy J, Pelcat Y, Thompson LH, Pilon R, Ho J, et al. (2020) 

PLoS ONE 15(8): e0237560. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0237560

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0237560

US-Serbian gang may have friends in high places

Meet Group America, the most pervasive drug-trafficking syndicate you’ve never heard of — In 1980, a Serbian immigrant took over the Westies, a largely Irish-American gang in New York that eventually became the international organization we call #GroupAmerica. 
Decades later, police around the world are impressed by the global scope of its operations — and stunned the gang remains active. 
More than one senior police source told OCCRP that they credit the gang’s success to ties with intelligence agencies, maybe even the CIA. (OCCRP - Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, 01.09.2020)

https://www.occrp.org/en/group-america/powerful-serbian-american-drug-traffickers-may-have-ties-to-intelligence-agencies

Myanmar/Burma. Film: Opium Farmer - The lives of producers of prohibited plants in Myanmar. 

For most farmers and their families, opium cultivation is a means of survival, especially in the context poverty, insecurity, and repression. This film sensitively portrays the lives of two opium farming families in Myanmar and sheds light on their plight. (Myanmar Opium Farmers Forum (MOFF), Myanmar, 2017, Video, 20:55)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=OdaT_dLGypQ&feature=emb_title

Myanmar/Burma. A day in the life of a woman opium poppy farmer in Myanmar

There is genuine hope that by sharing her story as a woman who grows opium, Nang Kham could help encourage other women farmers to speak out, and encourage the wider community to realise the collective benefits of gender equality. (TNI – Transnational Institute, Niederlande, 20.07.2020)

Myanmar/Burma. A day in the life of a woman opium poppy farmer in Myanmar

Afghanistan, Myanmar, Kolumbien. In the world’s forgotten borderlands, the drug trade helps people survive – but at a cost 

When Jangul’s* village on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan was bombed in the war between the Soviet communist regime and the Mujahedeen in the 1980s, it was some opium buried under his house that enabled him to build a new home. (Conversation, UK, 14.08.20209

Afghanistan, Myanmar, Kolumbien. In the world’s forgotten borderlands, the drug trade helps people survive – but at a cost 

Kolumbien. Drug cartels kill people for breaking their COVID-19 rules in Colombia, group says 

Armed groups with ties to drug cartels are enforcing their own COVID-19 lockdown orders in Colombia, and killing people who don’t comply, a human rights organization says. (Miami Herald, USA, 15.072020)

Kolumbien. Drug cartels kill people for breaking their COVID-19 rules in Colombia, group says 

Mexiko. Cartel demonstrates its firepower with video showing convoy of armored vehicles

Analyst says it's a message to government: 'You come after us, we'll strike back'. (Mexico News, 18.07.2020)

Mexiko. Cartel demonstrates its firepower with video showing convoy of armored vehicles

 

Protecting communities: Responding to the impact of urban drug markets

This paper looks at the challenge posed by urban drug markets, particularly the impact on crime, safety, and development. It combines a granular local analysis – based on research as well as interviews with current and former gang members, police, drug users, social workers, court employees and representatives of civil society – with a broader transnational perspective. The study focuses in particular on drug markets in the cities of Cali, Colombia; Chicago, US; Cape Town, South Africa; Karachi, Pakistan; Kingston, Jamaica, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (globalinitiative.net, Schweiz, 09.07.2020)

Protecting communities: Responding to the impact of urban drug markets

Illicit fentanyls in the opioid street market: desired or imposed?. 

Mars SG, Rosenblum D, Ciccarone D. 

Addiction. 2019;114(5):774-780. doi:10.1111/add.14474

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6548693/

Mexiko. The Mexico Opium Network

Noria Research and México Unido Contra la Delincuencia (MUCD) have launched the Mexico Opium Network. 

The Network will act as a clearinghouse for the production and dissemination of knowledge on opium poppy, from cultivation to consumption. We will analyze the complex opium poppy economy in Mexico, in all its key regions (Guerrero, Nayarit, Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua) and using a wide array of thematic analysis. (Juni 2020)

https://www.noria-research.com/research/noria-mexico-central-america/mexico-opium-network/

Montenegro. Making a killing: What assassinations reveal about the Montenegrin drug war

In criminal markets, violence does not happen by accident – and it is seldom a first resort. The most efficient and controlled markets are those where violence is not even necessary, since one group has a monopoly. Violence can also be bad for business, since it attracts the attention of law enforcement, which increases risks. It can also trigger a deadly spiral of tit-for-tat killings. (globalinitiative.net, 02.07.2020)

https://globalinitiative.net/montenegro-assassinations-drug-war/

Nord-Afrika. A rising tide: Trends in production, trafficking and consumption of drugs in North Africa

This report offers a sizing and analysis of the developing trends around drugs in the Maghreb. It begins by detailing the production of narcotics in the Maghreb, including both cannabis and poppies. Next, it focuses on the trafficking of these products, exploring the types of drugs that transit the region, the routes they take and the groups involved in their movement. (globalinitiative.net, 01.06.2020)

https://globalinitiative.net/north-africa-drugs-report/

Italien/Syrien. Weltgrößter Drogenfund in Italien - Echte Drogen, falsche Dschihadisten 

Die italienischen Behörden haben 14 Tonnen Captagon-Tabletten gefunden. Angeblich steckt die Terrormiliz IS hinter der Drogenlieferung - aber kann das stimmen? (Spiegel online, 03.07.2020)

https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/italien-hat-der-islamische-staat-14-tonnen-captagon-tabletten-geschmuggelt-a-5501a79f-096b-4998-9d29-0b95594fe359