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Kolumbien. Rebel groups fight over coca-growing region in Colombia

The governor of a province in north-eastern Colombia has declared a state of emergency over fighting between rival rebel groups.

William Villamizar, governor of Norte de Santander, said the measure was necessary to assist people displaced by the clashes.

He said about 1,000 families had fled the fighting and 4,000 children were unable to go to school.

The EPL and the ELN are fighting for control of a coca-growing region. (BBC, 17.04.2018)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-43791760

UK. Thousands of children potentially lured through social media into 'county lines' drugs dealing

Thousands of children could be being lured through social media sites such as Instagram into selling drugs in seaside towns, the police have warned as they secured their first modern slavery conviction against those responsible.

A complex web of more than 900 "county lines" have been discovered across the UK, where organised crime groups based in urban areas use violence and intimidation to force young and vulnerable people to sell drugs remotely in rural or seaside areas. (The Telegraph, UK, 13.04.2018)

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/13/thousands-children-potentially-lured-social-media-county-lines/

USA/Niederlande. DEA, Dutch law enforcement continue attack on dark web drug sales

International day of action includes knock and talks with suspected dark web drug buyers; Information produced from Hansa takedown.

THE HAGUE – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration and Dutch law enforcement officials today announced sustained action against drug trafficking on the dark web, following last summer’s significant market takedowns of AlphaBay and takeover and subsequent takedown of the Hansa market. DEA continued to partner with the National Police of the Netherlands following the July takedown in an ongoing effort to identify individuals who purchase drugs on the dark web and to further disrupt dangerous drug trafficking. Further examination of the Hansa Market data revealed illicit drug purchase information identifying U.S. and Dutch individuals, resulting in numerous face-to-face doorstep visits by police (so-called “knock and talks”) to suspected opioid buyers throughout the U.S. and the Netherlands. Future enforcement action such as search warrants, arrests, and seizures could come as a result of intelligence gathered from the knock and talks. (DEA, 15.02.2018)

https://www.dea.gov/divisions/hq/2018/hq021518.shtml

Will growth in cryptomarket drug buying increase the harms of illicit drugs?.

Aldridge, J., Stevens, A., and Barratt, M. J. (2018)

Addiction, 113: 789–796. doi: 10.1111/add.13899.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/add.13899

Studie zu Cannabis-Preisen: Kiffer zahlen in München am meisten

In München ist es am teuersten, in Frankfurt am preiswertesten: Cannabis. Die Studie eines Gewächshausproduzenten errechnet, wie viel Steuern der Staat einnehmen könnte, wenn er Marihuana legalisieren würde. (Wirtschaftswoche, 01.02.2018)

http://www.wiwo.de/unternehmen/handel/studie-zu-cannabis-preisen-kiffer-zahlen-in-muenchen-am-meisten/20915320.html

The Dynamic Environment of Crypto Markets: The Lifespan of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and Vendors Selling NPS.

Wadsworth E, Drummond C, Deluca P.

Brain Sci. 2018 Mar 16;8(3). pii: E46. doi: 10.3390/brainsci8030046.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5870364/

USA. Trump sees ‘carnage’ from America’s drug boom. But major cities are getting safer.

(...) Criminologists see many potential factors, but one may play the biggest role in reducing drug-related killings: smartphones.

Just as mobile technology has transformed ordinary commerce, it has revolutionized illicit markets, too, making the drug trade more predictable and less lethal. GPS mapping, encrypted communications and messaging apps have vastly reduced the need for drug dealers to physically control urban spaces and defend them with deadly force, experts say.

“The technology of retail drug dealing has shifted radically, especially over the past 10 years,” said Mark Kleiman, a criminologist at New York University. “It’s no longer people standing on street corners. It’s hand-to-hand transactions between people with cellphones, and they’re not vulnerable in the same way.” (Washington Post, 28.01.2018)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-sees-carnage-from-americas-drug-boom-but-major-cities-are-getting-safer/2018/01/28/e5c222a2-f702-11e7-91af-31ac729add94_story.html

Zur globalen Ökonomie digitaler Drogenmärkte

Meropi Tzanetakis

Technology Review, TR 4/17, Dezember 2017

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323430078_Zur_globalen_Okonomie_von_digitalen_Drogenmarkten

If You Bought Drugs on the Silk Road Using Bitcoin, the Feds Might Know Who You Are

(...) Many people have bought personal quantities of drugs online over the years, and law enforcement has neither the time nor the interest in harassing and surveilling every single one of them. But this study should serve as a wakeup call to anyone who sees the dark web as a convenient place to buy illegal substances. If buying drugs online feels easy, you're probably doing it wrong. (reason.com, 30.01.2018)

http://reason.com/blog/2018/01/30/if-you-bought-drugs-on-the-silk-road-usi

Spanien. Inside La Línea, the Spanish town in the frontline against drug trafficking

Violence and hashish-carrying speedboats have surged since Spain’s 2008 economic crisis boosted the town’s smuggling gangs. (Teh Guardian, UK, 04.04.2018)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/04/spain-la-linea-drug-trafficking-gibraltar-hashish

UK. Tens of millions of prescription drugs on the black market

Criminal gangs have smuggled tens of millions of prescription-only drugs out of the UK's protected supply chain, a BBC File on 4 programme has discovered.

They tricked or bribed pharmacists and drug wholesalers to access almost 160 million tablets with a street value of up to £200m over a three-year period.

Misuse of these anxiety and insomnia drugs is a serious public health concern, the medicines regulator says. (BBC, 30.01.2018)

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-42810148

The War on Drugs Breeds Crafty Traffickers

Politicians often escalate drug war rhetoric to show voters that they are doing something. But it is rare to ignore generations of lessons as President Trump did earlier this month when he announced his support for the execution of drug traffickers.

This idea is insane. But the war on drugs has never made any sense to begin with.

Executing a few individual smugglers will do little to stop others because there is no high command of the international drug trade to target, no generals who can order a coordinated surrender of farmers, traffickers, money launderers, dealers or users. The drug trade is diffuse and can span thousands of miles from producer to consumer. People enter the drug economy for all sorts of reasons — poverty, greed, addiction — and because they believe they will get away with it. Most people do. The death penalty only hurts the small portion of people who are caught (often themselves minorities and low-level mules). (New York Times, 26.03.2018)

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/26/opinion/war-on-drugs-trafficking.html

USA. Stop Selling Bogus, Illegal Opioid Addiction Treatments, Feds Warn

Two federal agencies are warning the makers of a dozen unapproved opioid addiction treatments that their products are being illegally marketed and sold.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) made the warnings public on January 24. The warnings, which were issued to the sellers on January 11, required them to cease and desist by January 26. Failure to correct violations could result in seizures or injunctions, said the agencies.

The companies advertised the products — mostly through Facebook, YouTube, and other online platforms — with various claims, such as, "#1 Selling Opiate Withdrawal Brand" and "Safe and effective natural supplements that work to ease many physical symptoms of opiate withdrawal."

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/891725

Technology. Blackberry modified to 'help drug cartels'

The chief executive of a company that created highly-secure smartphones allegedly used by some of the world's most notorious criminals has been indicted.

Canadian-based Phantom Secure made "tens of millions of dollars" selling the modified Blackberry devices for use by the likes of the Sinaloa Cartel, investigators said.

The charges marked the first time US authorities have targeted a company for knowingly making encrypted technology for criminals.

The Department of Justice arrested Vincent Ramos in Seattle last week. He was indicted on Thursday along with four associates. (BBC, 16.03.2018)

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43425333

Kolumbien. GameChangers 2017: Is Colombia’s FARC Really Gone?

Has Colombia’s FARC really left the country’s criminal scene? Yes, and absolutely not. The rebel army is gone, and has become a political party. But the FARC Mafia is just coming into being. (InSight Crime, USA, 16.01.2018)

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/gamechangers-2017-is-colombia-farc-really-gone/

Albanien. Police Seize Largest Cocaine Haul in Albanian History

Albanian police said Wednesday that they seized 613 kilograms of cocaine that arrived from Colombia in a shipment of bananas. (OCCRP - The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, 02.03.2018)

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/7722-police-seize-largest-cocaine-haul-in-albanian-history

Ein Ex-Dealer erklärt, wie Drogenhandel im Darknet funktioniert

Sascha Flamm verdiente Hunderttausende durch den Verkauf von Drogen. Nun spricht er erstmals über das Geschäft der Darknet-Dealer. (Spiegel online, 14.01.2018, Bezahlschranke)

http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/ein-ex-dealer-erklaert-wie-drogenhandel-im-darknet-funktioniert-a-1187560.html

Niederlande. Netherlands becoming a narco-state, warn Dutch police

Officers say many victims do not report incidents and organised gangs have a free rein

The Netherlands is starting to resemble a narco-state with the police unable to combat the emergence of a parallel criminal economy, a report from the Dutch police association has warned. (The Guardian, 20.02.2018)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/20/netherlands-becoming-a-narco-state-warn-dutch-police

How the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan

After 16 years and $1tn spent, there is no end to the fighting – but western intervention has resulted in Afghanistan becoming the world’s first true narco-state. By Alfred W McCoy

After fighting the longest war in its history, the US stands at the brink of defeat in Afghanistan. How could this be possible? How could the world’s sole superpower have battled continuously for more than 16 years – deploying more than 100,000 troops at the conflict’s peak, sacrificing the lives of nearly 2,300 soldiers, spending more than $1tn (£740bn) on its military operations, lavishing a record $100bn more on “nation-building”, helping fund and train an army of 350,000 Afghan allies – and still not be able to pacify one of the world’s most impoverished nations? So dismal is the prospect of stability in Afghanistan that, in 2016, the Obama White House cancelled a planned withdrawal of its forces, ordering more than 8,000 troops to remain in the country indefinitely.

In the American failure lies a paradox: Washington’s massive military juggernaut has been stopped in its steel tracks by a small pink flower – the opium poppy. Throughout its three decades in Afghanistan, Washington’s military operations have succeeded only when they fit reasonably comfortably into central Asia’s illicit traffic in opium – and suffered when they failed to complement it. (The Guardian, 09.01.2018)

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jan/09/how-the-heroin-trade-explains-the-us-uk-failure-in-afghanistan

Mexiko. Inside the Mexican towns that produce America’s heroin

MEXICO CITY — Journalists in Mexico, foreign and domestic, tend to keep drug cartels at arm's length. Narco bosses like to stay out of the news. Several Mexican reporters have been killed by drug gangs for trying to expose organized crime. Firsthand reporting from inside the Mexican underworld is rare. (Washington Post, 17.02.2018)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/02/17/inside-the-mexican-towns-that-produce-americas-heroin

Lassen Drogenkartelle in Deutschland Endoskope stehlen?

Seit 2015 wurden allein in Deutschland mehr als 100 Diebstähle von Endoskopen registriert, der Schaden beläuft sich auf mindestens 25 Millionen Euro.

Ermittler rätseln seit langem, wer hinter diesen Taten steckt, da es in Deutschland keinen Schwarzmarkt für solche Geräte gibt.

Eine mögliche Spur führt zu südamerikanischen Drogenkartellen, die sie beim Schmuggeln verwenden könnten. (sueddeutsche.de, 11.11.2017)

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/panorama/kriminalitaet-lassen-drogenkartelle-in-deutschland-endoskope-stehlen-1.3743768

Irland. Dublin's dead men walking: 29 on death list in brutal gangland war

In the most violent gangland feud in Irish criminal history they are Dublin’s dead men walking.

As one international crime gang headed up by a Dublin drug smuggler seeks to annihilate its rival in the Irish capital, at least 29 men have been told they are on death lists. (The Guardian, UK, 19.02.2018)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/19/dublins-dead-men-walking-29-on-death-list-in-brutal-gangland-war