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Europa. Portholes - Exploring the maritime Balkan routes

Despite the prevalence of trade over land, South Eastern Europe (SEE) also contains more than a hundred ports and 12 container terminals, which are important entry and exit points for trade in the Adriatic, Aegean, Black and Ionian Seas, as well as along the Danube. (Global Initiative against transnational organized Crime


Peru. Secret Operations: The Peruvian Charged with Laundering Massive Amounts of Drug Money

For decades, Carlos Sein Atachahua allegedly led a global money laundering empire. Police say his gang’s drugs, sent with logos depicting ancient Peruvian symbols, reached Italy’s ‘Ndrangheta and other criminal groups, while corrupted money-exchange houses around the world were allegedly used to launder profits. (OCCRP - Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, 06.07.2022)


‘The PCC are after me’: the drug cartel with Paraguay in its clutches

A Brazilian former prison gang is threatening to turn its neighbour into a narcostate and its deadly tentacles extend much further.UK, 23.06.2022)


Green Energy Complicates the Taliban’s New Battle Against Opium

The multibillion-dollar trade has survived previous bans. Now, the Taliban are going after solar-powered water pumps to try to dry up poppy crops in the middle of a national economic crisis. (New York Times, 29.05.2022)


Afghanistan. When the Water Runs Dry: What is to be done with the 1.5 million settlers in the deserts of southwest Afghanistan when their livelihoods fail?

In the last 5 years 48,000 new houses were built in the barren deserts of southwest Afghanistan. This population of almost half a million people migrated to this inhospitable terrain despite the expense and back breaking work involved in setting up home:  clearing and levelling the land for farming; building a house from the dry desert soil; and most importantly, digging a deep well to tap the groundwater beneath and bring the desert to life. In moving to the deserts of Helmand, Nimroz and Farah, these new arrivals joined an existing population of around 1 million people who since 2003 had made this same painstaking journey, the vast majority of whom settled after 2008, seven years after the Taliban regime had fallen. (David Mansfield, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) Shahr-i-Naw, Kabul, Afghanistan, 23.05.2022)


Ekuador. Ecuador prison riot leaves 43 dead in latest bloody episode 

Sixth deadly prison massacre in country fueled by rival drug gangs since the beginning of 2021, bringing death toll to nearly 400. (The Guardian, UK, 09.05.2022)


Irland/Dubai. How a Tweet Led to the Downfall of a $1 Billion Drug Cartel

The Kinahans are accused of running a murderous criminal gang comparable to the Camorra in Italy or Los Zetas in Mexico. As the law catches up with them, it appears their ties to big-match boxing could be their undoing. (VICE, UK, 19.05.2022)


EMCDDA/Europol. Cocaine: increasingly attractive for a wider range of criminal networks

A large variety of individuals, many of them designated as high-value targets, groups and networks shape the complex supply of cocaine to the EU. Criminal networks involved in cocaine trafficking are highly resilient, with some operating across several continents. For example, some locations in the Middle East, such as the United Arab Emirates, have emerged as a safe haven for top-level organisers of cocaine trafficking to the EU. Further, criminal networks originating from the EU or the EU’s neighbourhood have also become established in key locations in South America, or maintain direct contacts with suppliers. Trusted members of the criminal networks are sent to arrange and supervise these shipments. (EMCDDA, Lissabon, 06.05.2022)


Mexiko/USA. Drug smuggling tunnel with rail system uncovered on US-Mexico border

The ventilated underground passage runs the length of six football fields and also contains reinforced walls and electricity supply. (The Guardian, UK, 17.05.2022)


EMCDDA. Europas Rolle auf dem internationalen Drogenmarkt wächst

Brüssel – Europa spielt eine wachsende Rolle beim internationalen Drogenhandel, insbesondere mit Kokain und Methamphetamin. Dabei schaffe die Zusammenarbeit zwischen kriminellen Gruppen weltweit neue Sicherheitsbedrohungen und erweitere den Markt, heißt es in einem heute veröffentlichten Bericht der EU-Drogenbeobachtungsstelle (EMCDDA) und der Polizeibehörde Europol. (aerzteblatt.de, 06.05.2022)


Variability in the unregulated opioid market in the context of extreme rates of overdose. 

Larnder A, Saatchi A, Borden SA, Moa B, Gill CG, Wallace B, Hore D. 

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2022 Mar 26;235:109427. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2022.109427. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35405459.


Afghanistan. The Taliban Announces a Ban on Opium. Really? [FEATURE]

On April 3, the Taliban announced a ban on drug cultivation in Afghanistan, for years the world's dominant opium producer, accounting for more than 80 percent of the global supply of the substance, from which heroin is derived, throughout this century. But the ban announcement raised as many questions as it answered and has been met with a degree of skepticism, not only around the motives of the Taliban but also because opium plays such a key role in an Afghan economy that is now in especially dire straits. (stopthedrugwar.org, USA, Issue 115, 15.04.2022)


Afghanistan. The drug trade now flourishing in Afghanistan: Meth

Many opium exporters are now moving meth, using existing infrastructure, routes and bribery schemes to reach neighbouring countries. (The Independent, UK, 06.05.2022)


EMCDDA. EU Drug Markets: In-depth analysis

Illicit drugs are big business. They are one of the main profit-generating activities of organised crime and are estimated to represent around one-fifth of global crime proceeds. 'EU Drug Markets: In-depth analysis' is the fourth comprehensive overview of illicit drug markets in the EU by the EMCDDA and Europol and takes a broad view of these markets from production and trafficking, to distribution and use. Designed as a series of modules, each focuses on the market for a particular drug. (EMCDDA, Lissabon / Europol, Den Haag, 06.05.2022)


Indien. Inside India's insidious drug network

THE WEEK takes you inside the world of opium farmers, peddlers and drug-busters. (The Week, Indien, 17.04.2022)


Kolumbien. Deep in Colombia, Rebels and Soldiers Fight for the Same Prize: Drugs

The country signed a historic peace deal more than five years ago. But a power vacuum is fueling the rise of new armed groups competing to control the drug trade. (New York Times, USA, 20.04.2022)


Afghanistan. Taliban verbieten den Opiumanbau 

Opiumanbau war lange die Haupteinnahmequelle der Taliban. Nun wollen sie ihn unter Strafe stellen. Das Regime erhofft sich dadurch internationale Anerkennung - die Not vieler Bauern dürfte aber wachsen. (tagesschau.de, 18.04.2022)


BKA. Illegaler Darknet-Marktplatz „Hydra Market“ abgeschaltet

Server des weltweit größten Darknet-Marktplatzes beschlagnahmt und 543 Bitcoins im Gesamtwert von rund 23 Millionen Euro sichergestellt. (Bundeskriminalamt, 05.04.2022)


Syrien/Libanon. Lebanon’s role in Syria’s Captagon trade

Syria's degree of involvement in the synthetic drug trade is the highest in the world, but the influence of neighbouring Lebanon should not be underestimated. 

As the conflict in Syria has rolled on over the past decade, the country’s involvement in the synthetic drug trade has grown, and the country ranks highest for the market in the Global Organized Crime Index 2021. In particular, Syria plays a central role in the global trade in Captagon, an illegal and highly addictive amphetamine. (Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, Genf, 25.03.2022)


Afghanistan. Taliban chief orders ‘strict’ ban on opium poppy cultivation

The ban comes as the Taliban tries to assuage international concerns regarding drug control in the impoverished South Asian country. (Al Jazeera, Katar, 03.04.2022)


Irland. The Lithuanian Gang that Took Over Ireland’s Heroin Trade Using Baltic Slaves 

The inside story of a gang known as “the Russians” who transformed Ireland's heroin trade by forcing trafficked Lithuanians to push drugs. (OCCRP - Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, 30.03.2022) 


Südafrika. The Heroin Pill Sparking Deadly Turf Wars

A new form of packaging heroin has landed in the South African coastal city of Durban, where capsules are being used to streamline and market the drug. This has fuelled a rise in brutal gang wars over the lucrative product that the police are struggling to contain. (VICE, März 2022)


How much demand for money laundering services does drug selling create? Identifying the key parameters

Jonathan P.Caulkins, PeterReuter

International Journal of Drug Policy, Volume 103, May 2022, 103652, doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2022.103652


Virtual Conference. Illicit economies, armed conflict and instability - 22 March 2022, 3:00 PM CET

A virtual conference hosted by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, and the United Nations University.

A talk by Ettanibi Alemika, Adam Day, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Gifty Mensah, Amado Philip de Andres, Renata Segura, Mark Shaw, Judith Vorrath, Tjark Egenhoff, Alastair Nelson, Borges Nhamirre and Summer Walker


Virtual Conference. Illicit economies, armed conflict and instability - 22 March 2022, 3:00 PM CET

A virtual conference hosted by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, and the United Nations University.

A talk by Ettanibi Alemika, Adam Day, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Gifty Mensah, Amado Philip de Andres, Renata Segura, Mark Shaw, Judith Vorrath, Tjark Egenhoff, Alastair Nelson, Borges Nhamirre and Summer Walker


Myanmar. UN: Myanmar’s Militias, Rebel Armies Ramping Up Drug Trade 

Armed groups in Myanmar’s far east, aligned both with and against the country’s military are ramping up drug production to cash in amid the turmoil that has gripped the nation since its February 2021 coup, a United Nations official told VOA this week. (VOA – Voice of America, USA, 05.03.2022)


Afghanistan. Poppy cultivation surges in Kandahar, Helmand

poppy for opium production has surged in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar this year compared to previous years, farmers said. “There is nothing else to cultivate. We were growing wheat before. This year—we want to cultivate poppy. Previously they were asking for bribes every day but we don’t have that problem this year,” a farmer said. (Pakistan Observer, Pakistan, 07.03.2022)


Guinea-Bissau. Guinea-Bissau's mystery deepens over drug-trafficking coup plot

At the beginning of the month, it looked like Guinea-Bissau was about to fall victim to what has been called West Africa's coup epidemic, but some are now doubting the official version of events. (BBC, UK, 13.02.2022)


Guinea-Bissau. Guinea-Bissau leader says convicted drug baron behind failed coup

President Umaro Embalo says former navy chief Admiral Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto and two aides arrested over the failed coup. (Al Jazeera, Katar, 11.02.2022)


USA. Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking: Final Report 

This final report describes items involving the illegal manufacturing and trafficking of synthetic opioids. (RAND Corporation, USA, 2022)