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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)


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


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)


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)


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


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)


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)


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)


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)


Indien. India: Narco-Terrorist Surge In Punjab – Analysis

India’s premier investigation agency, mainly tasked with investigation of terrorism cases, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), is currently investigating two cases of narco-terrorism in Punjab. (EurasiaReview, USA, 30.06.2020)


A Shallow Flood: The Diffusion of Heroin in Eastern and Southern Africa

The flow of heroin from Asian production points to the coastal shores of eastern and southern Africa is not new. Whereas the first heroin transit routes in the region in the 1970s relied heavily on maritime transport to enter the continent, a number of transport modes and urban centres of the interior have increasingly become important features in the current movement of heroin in this region. Interior transit hubs and networks have developed around air transport nodes that use regular regional and international connections to ship heroin. As regional air routes proliferated and became more efficient, their utility and value for the heroin trade increased as well. Heroin is also consolidated and shipped over a frequently shifting network of overland routes, moving it deeper into the African interior in a south-westerly direction across the continent. (globalinitiative.net, Schweiz, 28.05.2020)


UNODC report on East and Southeast Asia: continued growth in the supply of methamphetamine while synthetic opioids spread

Bangkok (Thailand), 15 May 2020 – A new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) warns that the synthetic drug market in East and Southeast Asia continues to expand and diversify, and the price of methamphetamine has dropped to the lowest level in a decade as the supply has surged. (UNODC)


UNODC. Synthetic Drugs in East and Southeast Asia – Latest Developments and Challenges

The report finds that the regional methamphetamine market continues to expand, with sustained increases in seizures, especially of crystalline methamphetamine, amidst falling prices.  It states that seizures of methamphetamine precursor chemicals are not proportionate with drug seizure trends, signaling difficulties in coping with increasing diversion, trafficking and illicit manufacture of key precursor chemicals. There are also recent signs of a consolidation of methamphetamine manufacture in the lower Mekong region, as organised crime groups adapt trafficking routes in response to law enforcement operations. The report also finds increased purities and use of “ecstasy”, increased identifications of synthetic NPS with opioid effects and a higher availability of ketamine in the region. 

While the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on illicit drug supply in the region might be limited, the repercussions on demand and ongoing drug prevention and treatment programmes could be huge. The report calls for active monitoring and careful interpretation of drug-related trends to understand how the regional drug market evolves in the wake of the pandemic. (UNODC, Wien, Mai 2020)


Malediven. Amid Covid-19, Rising Tide of Narcotics Trafficking from Pak Feeds Jihadist Upsurge in Indian Ocean

Islamic State cells in the Maldives, known to have close links with Indian Ocean drug cartels, have over the past eight weeks staged multiple attacks, including bomb strikes on police boats. (News18, Indien, 17.04.2020)


USA/Mexiko. Coronavirus Is Leading to Shortages of Fentanyl And Meth

The pandemic has slowed the production and export of chemicals from China to Mexico, for onward smuggling into the U.S. (Vice, USA, 19.03.2020)


Indien/Afghanistan. Indian companies’ supply of heroin chemical helping fund Afghan Taliban: Narco body

NEW DELHI: In a severe indictment of lax drug enforcement laws in India, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has underlined the continued largescale illicit supply of acetic anhydride — a precursor chemical used for the manufacture of heroin — to Afghanistan drug lords. (Times of India, 29.02.2020)


Spanien. Workers found trapped in illegal tobacco factory in Spain

An illegal cigarette factory has been uncovered in Spain where six foreign workers were found gasping for air before being rescued, authorities said. 

Twelve British nationals suspected of running the factory were arrested.

The bunker under horse stables in the southern province of Malaga could produce up to 3,500 cigarettes an hour, according to Spain's Guardia Civil. (BBC, UK, 20.02.2020)


Drogenmarkt Europa: 30 Milliarden Euro für illegale Drogen

So viel geben Konsumierende in der Europäischen Union jährlich für Cannabis, Kokain und andere illegale Drogen aus. Der Drogenhandel gilt als eine Haupteinnahmequelle der organisierten Kriminalität. Eine Analyse zeigt auf, wie Gewalt bis hin zu Mord mit dem illegalen Drogenhandel in Verbindung stehen. (drugcom.de, Topthema März 2020)


The Global SMART Update Vol. 23: “An expanding synthetic drugs market – Implications for precursor control”

UNODC 2020, Global SMART Programme, Vienna International Centre


Myanmar/Burma. Myanmar Opium Cultivation in Decline: UN Report

CHIANG MAI, Thailand—Opium cultivation in Myanmar decreased last year, continuing the downward trend that started in 2014 due in part to the continuing shift in the regional drug market towards synthetic drugs, according to a new UN survey. (The Irrawaddy, Myanmar/Burma, 04.02.2020)


Schweiz. Der Cannabis-Markt unter der Lupe

Ein interdisziplinäres Team von Forschenden von Sucht Schweiz, dem Institut für Kriminologie der Universität Lausanne und Unisanté hat den Betäubungsmittelmarkt im Kanton Waadt untersucht. Nach Heroin und Stimulanzien lag das Interesse dieses Mal bei Cannabis. Der Cannabis-Markt ist von allen Betäubungsmitteln der grösste, doch bleibt der Umsatz hinter demjenigen beim Kokain zurück. Der konsumierte Cannabis stammt aus unterschiedlichen Quellen und weist einen grossen Import-Anteil aus, wobei der einheimische Kleinanbau eine nicht zu unterschätzende Rolle spielt. Auf dem Markt finden sich neu auch Mischungen von illegalem und legalem (CBD-)Cannabis. Mehr als die Hälfte des konsumierten Cannabis geht auf stark Konsumierende zurück, die weniger als 10 Prozent der Benutzerinnen und Benutzer ausmachen.


UK. How a boy from Vietnam became a slave on a UK cannabis farm

It was a horrifying death for the 39 Vietnamese nationals found in the back of a trailer in an industrial park in Essex, in October last year. The story shone a light on the subterranean world of people smuggling and human trafficking, reports Cat McShane, specifically the thriving route between Vietnam and the UK. (BBC, 21.01.2020)


Arzneimittelfälschungen lukrativer als Handel mit harten Drogen

Berlin – Auf das weltweite Problem des Handels mit gefälschten Arzneimitteln hat die ABDA – Bundesvereinigung Deutscher Apothekerverbände – hingewiesen. Danach ist wahrscheinlich jedes zweite Arzneimittel gefälscht, das über illegale Internetversender bezogen wird. (aerzteblatt.de, 17.01.2020)


Schweden. Drug gang violence in Sweden linked to 60% increase in bomb blasts 

Last year 257 bomb attacks were reported to police, up from 162 in 2018. (The Guardian, UK, 16.01.2020)


Rethinking the “drug dealer”

Policymakers in the United States increasingly recognize that drug use should be treated as a public health issue instead of a criminal issue. Most, however, continue to support harsh criminal sentences for people who are involved with drug selling or distribution.

With more than 68,000 people in the United States dying from accidental drug overdoses in 2018 alone, many people are searching for someone to blame and pointing the finger at people who sell drugs. This is also consistent with decades of drug policies based on the assumption that people who sell or distribute drugs are responsible for causing drug use. 

Politicians of all stripes have argued that long sentences for drug sellers will reduce drug availability and make remaining drugs more expensive, driving down demand. But this is not how drug markets actually work. Research and history have shown that the vilification and criminalization of people who sell drugs does not reduce problematic drug use, reduce the availability of drugs, or keep people who use drugs safer.

 (DPA – Drug Policy Alliance, USA, 17.12.2019)