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Afghanistan. Taliban poppy ban puts Europe on fentanyl alert

Drug users could switch to more dangerous synthetic opioids as heroin supply dries up. (Politico, Europa, 30.03.2023)


Afghanistan. Ende der größten Opiumwirtschaft der Welt? - Taleban setzten Anbauverbot für Opium durch

Sie scheinen zu schaffen, woran die Staatengemeinschaft in Afghanistan scheiterte, auch wegen politischer Doppelzüngigkeit

„Im Ergebnis der anhaltenden Bemühungen des Islamischen Emirats ist der Anbau von Opiummohn im Land ausgetilgt worden.“ Zahlreiche Expert*innen bestätigen inzwischen diese Aussage von Talebanchef Hebatullah Achundsada aus seiner Botschaft zum islamischen Opferfest, das am Mittwoch begann. (Afghanistan Zhagdablai, Deutschland, 01.07.2023)


Syrien. A ‘Drug War’: Syria’s Neighbors Fight a Flood of Captagon Across Their Borders

A flood of drugs out of Syria has opened a new phase in the country’s conflict, pitting drug traffickers — with apparent support from Syrian authorities — against security forces in neighboring countries. (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, USA, 27.06.2023)


Kolumbien. Coca price crash contributing to Colombia food insecurity, UN says

BOGOTA, July 14 (Reuters) - A crash in the price of coca, the chief ingredient in cocaine, is contributing to food insecurity in Colombia and causing displacement, as people leave areas that depend on the illicit crop, according to an internal United Nations presentation seen by Reuters.

Historically coca crops have provided better incomes than legal alternatives for thousands of rural Colombian families, with drug-trafficking groups often footing the costs of transport, fertilizers and other supplies. (Reuters, USA, 14.07.2023)


Mexiko. Mexican drug cartels, poppy farmers and the US fentanyl crisis (Video)

How Mexico’s drug cartels are feeding the US opioid crisis, and putting the country’s poppy farmers out of business. (Al Jazeera, Katar, 07.05.2019, Video, 02.:38)


Afghanistan. Afghanistan bekämpft Opiumanbau: Einst blühende Mohnlandschaften 

Die Taliban haben den Drogenanbau verboten. So erreichen sie, woran die Staatengemeinschaft gescheitert ist. Die Produktion ist stark gesunken. (taz, 30.06.2023)


Afghanistan. Truly Unprecedented: The Taliban Drugs Ban v2.0. 

With the Taliban having exceeded expectations and reduced poppy cultivation to levels not seen since 2001, there is now a real need to understand the potential effects of the drugs ban on Afghanistan, the region, and further downstream. (David Mansfield, Alcis - Alcis Holdings Ltd, Surrey Technology Centre, UK, 07.06.2023)


Cryptocurrency Inexorably Linked to the Fentanyl Trade 

Cryptocurrency has established itself as the preferred method of payment for transnational organized crime groups involved in the fentanyl trade, particularly those operating from China-based chemical precursor manufacturers. (OCCRP - OCCRP - Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, USA, 27.05.2023)


Belgien. Underworld ‘co-working’ space shut down in Antwerp

Belgian and Spanish authorities bust two criminal groups trafficking drugs in and out of Antwerp. (Europol, Den Haag, 11.05.2023)


Balkans' biggest drug lords arrested after investigation into encrypted phones

Serbian authorities seize assets for a total value of about EUR 5 million. (Europol, Den Haag, 12.05.2023)


Niederlande. Mega-Drogenprozess in den Niederlanden Rätsel um verhaftete Star-Anwältin Inez Weski 

Eine der bekanntesten Strafverteidigerinnen wird im Mega-Prozess gegen die Drogenmafia verhaftet. Sie soll Nachrichten des Hauptverdächtigen durchgeschleust haben. Wer Weski ist – und warum der Fall den Rechtsstaat aufs Neue herausfordert. (LTO – Legal Tribune Online, 15.05.2023)


Mexiko. Fentanyl’s butterfly effect: End of heroin boom leaves Mexican poppy farmers high and dry

Photographer César Rodríguez shines a light on the effect of market changes in the demand for illegal drugs on communities that survived by cultivating in the mountains of Guerrero. (El Pais, Spanien, 18.04.2023)


Cocaine-smuggling submarine reveals Europe's drug crisis

(BBC Europe, 21.04.2023)


China and synthetic drugs control: Fentanyl, methamphetamines, and precursors

Vanda Felbab-Brown, Brookings Institute, USA, März 2022


China: Fentanyl problem ‘made in USA’

A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry is pinning blame on the United States for the fentanyl crisis following a letter from Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador asking for Chinese assistance in quelling illicit fentanyl trade. (yahoo!news, USA, 06.04.2023)


Indien. How drugs find way into India

New Delhi: India's drug trafficking problems have been exacerbated by its proximity to two notorious narcotics domains, the Golden Triangle, and the Golden Crescent. In the past few years, there has been a 70 per cent increase in narcotic substance consumption in India. (The Hans India, Indien, 03.04.2023)


Key Players in Syria's ‘Narco State’ Hit With Western Sanctions

US and UK governments target senior officials, militia leaders and two of Bashar al-Assad’s relatives in an attempt to damage the Syrian regime's captagon racket. (VICE, UK, 28.03.2023)


Syrien. Tackling the illicit drug trade fuelling Assad's war machine 

The UK and US have imposed sanctions on those responsible for the illicit captagon trade, which is estimated to be worth up to $57 billion to the Assad regime. (UK Government, 28.03.2023)


Europol. Criminal Networks in EU Ports: Risks and challenges for Law Enforcement

Focus on the misappropriation of container reference codes in the ports of Antwerp, Hamburg and Rotterdam. 

Organised crime is constantly evolving its methods to try to avoid detection. This is especially true for the movement of illegal shipments; drugs, counterfeits and other illicit goods are constantly being uncovered and intercepted by law enforcement in unexpected places. One key avenue for the movement of illicit goods is through Europe’s ports, where organised criminal networks attempt to hide their cargo amongst legitimate shipments within the EU free trade area.

This report is a joint analysis carried out by Europol in partnership with the ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg/Bremerhaven. (Europol - European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, Den Haag/NL, 05.04.2023)


Trade Secrets: Inside Africa's illicit drug markets

Drug markets in Eastern and Southern Africa are growing rapidly. Resilient and quick to evolve, their impact is felt in cities, towns and rural villages in almost every corner of the region. Few escape the toxic effects of transnational organized crime linked to drugs. The harms are immense. The drug trade fuels violent inter-gang competition, murder and state corruption. It drives the spread of transmissible diseases. It destroys communities. The United Nations estimates that by 2030, the number of people who use drugs in Africa will have nearly doubled. Despite this, it remains a largely silent crisis. Through the lives of drug users and streetwise dealers, activists and survivors, this film tells the story of Africa’s drug crisis. (Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, Genf, 12.02.2023, Video, 15:10)


Afghanistan. The Taliban, terrorism and transnational organized crime

The international community’s withdrawal of support for Afghanistan rests on the false hope that a Taliban-led state will not pose any major threat to the world. Yet the assumption that the Taliban has changed for the better is misguided. Indeed, the Taliban is now even more dangerous, interconnected with criminal actors and deeply embroiled in illicit economic activities. These threats have transnational implications. (Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, Genf, 20.02.2023)


Kap Verde. Drogenumschlagplatz Kap Verde »Selbst die Fischverkäuferinnen dealen mit Kokain« 

Fünf US-Dollar kostet ein halbes Gramm Kokain auf den Kapverden, das Land liegt auf der Schmuggelroute von Südamerika nach Europa. Besuch auf einer Insel, wo der Stoff so viel kostet wie ein Mittagessen. (Spiegel online, 26.02.2023)


Land-System Changes and Migration Amidst the Opium Poppy Collapse in the Southern Highlands of Oaxaca, Mexico (2016-2020). 

Tamariz G, Zimmerer KS, Hulquist C. 

Hum Ecol Interdiscip J. 2023 Feb 18:1-17. doi: 10.1007/s10745-022-00388-4. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36844033; PMCID: PMC9938696.


Europa/Belgien. Visit of Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner, to the Port of Antwerp-Bruges: joint press conference

On 7 February 2023, Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, accompanied by Annelies Verlinden, Belgian Minister for the Interior, Institutional Reforms and Democratic Renewal, visited the Port of Antwerp, following the continued rise in the quantity of cocaine seized at the port. The European Commission is committed to tackling serious and organised crime and illegal drugs trafficking, as outlined in the  

EU Security Union Strategy, the EU Strategy to Tackle Organised crime and the EU Drugs Strategy 2021-2025. Antwerp is one of the main ports of entry and transit of cocaine in Europe. Only in 2022, Belgian authorities seized 110 tons of cocaine, almost all in the port of Antwerp. (EMCDDA, Lissabon, 07.02.2023)


The opium surge in Southeast Asia’s ‘Golden Triangle’

A revival of opium production in the Golden Triangle comes on top of a booming synthetic drug industry. (Al Jazeera, Katar, 18.02.2023)


Afrika. A powder storm: The cocaine markets of East and southern Africa

There is a transition occurring in the production and distribution of cocaine.

Despite the extensive population containment and control measures put into place across the globe in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the flow of cocaine powder from Latin America to global markets appears to have been largely uninterrupted. This is despite the fact that measures to significantly reduce supply have been put in place by the governments of Colombia – a country that is still the primary cultivator of coca – and the United States, the primary progenitor of and ally in the war on drugs. (globalinitiative.net,  , 15.12.2022)


Outrage over girl’s ‘drug war’ death as Belgium’s cocaine haul breaks records

Girl, 11, shot dead in Antwerp believed to be victim of rival drug gangs as cocaine seizures hit record high. (The Guardian, UK, 10.01.2023)


Europa. Mexican cartels bringing drug expertise to the EU, new report finds

Cocaine and methamphetamine linked to Mexican criminal groups emerging in EU, while rising violence and appearance of fentanyl are potential future threats. (Europol, Den Haag/NL, 14.12.2022)


Complexities and conveniences in the international drug trade: the involvement of Mexican criminal actors in the EU drug market - A joint Europol and US Drug Enforcement Administration analysis report. 

(…) In recent years, seizures of methamphetamine and cocaine linked to Mexican criminal actors have emerged as a prominent feature of the EU drug landscape. Mexican criminal actors and EU-based criminal networks have been working together to traffic both of these illicit drug types from Latin America to the EU.

This report delves into the activities of these criminals and their methods. Drug trafficking operations benefit from a number of different actors, such as brokers, cooks, envoys, intermediaries and money laundering service providers. Examples of the methods used by the criminals include the corruption of officials in the public and private sectors and the exploitation of legal business structures. The report also provides an outlook on potential threats that may develop in the future. (Europol, Den Haag/NL, 14.12.2022)


Re: Ecstasy für Europa – Einsatz gegen niederländische Drogenlabore (Video)

In der niederländischen Provinz wird in illegalen Drogenlaboren Ecstasy und Crystal Meth für den europäischen Markt hergestellt. Bauern werden bestochen oder erpresst, ihre Scheunen an die Mafia zu vermieten. Die hochgiftigen Abfälle landen in der Natur. Polizisten, Bürgermeister, Förster und Bauernbeauftragte sind im Dauereinsatz gegen das große Drogengeschäft. (Arte TV, Sendung vom 25.11.2022, Video, 32:15)