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How money laundering works (Animation)

Following criminal cash from the streets of London to the gold markets of Dubai, BBC Panorama and the French media company Premières Lignes reveal how an international crime gang laundered millions in drug money.

This animation shows the extraordinary lengths the gang went to make their dirty drug money appear 'clean'. (BBC, 28.10.2019, Animation, 03:32)


Afghanistan. The unknown unknowns of Afghanistan’s new wave of methamphetamine production

Recent years have seen a massive upswing in the production of ephedra and methamphetamine from the mountains and deserts of Afghanistan. (London School of Economic, 30.09.2019)


Süd Afrika. 'This is all we have. It’s how we raise our children', says small-scale dagga grower

(…) No one knows with confidence how many small-scale cannabis farmers there are in South Africa, but the number is large: one organisation estimates 900 000. 

Millions of people probably depend on income from cannabis. 

Here in Pondoland, these growers have been cultivating the plant for more than 200 years, with most of their harvest in more contemporary times bound for Cape Town townships and taxi ranks, as well as other South African cities.(News 24, RSA, 07.10.2019)


Narcotics traffic devastating Central American Rainforests in globally-recognized protected areas, fueling climate change; researchers say US anti-drug funds spent on wrong solution
New studies show indigenous and local communities, with strong rights and strong say in fate of forests, can resist drug cartels; other findings argue carbon-rich community forests offer region chance to quickly meet Paris climate promises
Drug trafficking and, paradoxically, efforts to slow it are rapidly driving the deforestation in Central America’s most precious tropical rainforests, according to a trio of major studies being released today at the Pre-COP, an event sponsored by the Government of Costa Rica in the lead up to the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) in Chile in December. (Texas State University, USA, 09.10.2019)


The ATS market ‒ 10 years after the 2009 Plan of Action. 

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2019. Global SMART Update, Volume 22


UK. 'County Lines' drug supply: Exploiting the young and vulnerable; enriching organised crime

By prohibiting drugs that are increasingly in demand, an extremely lucrative market has been gifted to organised crime.This briefing exposes the exploitation of young and vulnerable people as a direct result of drug prohibition, through the ‘county lines’ drug supply phenomenon. In regulated markets for legal products, which are bound by strict legal frameworks, there is significantly less opportunity to exploit young and vulnerable people. Legal regulation would allow for governments to regain control over the drugs market, and help force unregulated suppliers out of the business.

‘County lines’ is the term used to describe a drug supply network set up by organised crime groups (OCGs) between urban and suburban locations, typically rural and coastal towns and villages. (Transform, UK, Oktober 2019)


UK. I’ve seen the child slavery of county lines up close. £20m won’t stop it

A child close to me was entrapped by criminals. Only a national strategy will stem the mafia-style takeover of our towns. 

(...) “County lines” refers to the mobile phone numbers used by criminal networks to sell and distribute drugs around the country. The term sounds kind of street and clever. But it’s a sanitisation of what county lines drug gangs really represent: the slavery of our children and young people for the purposes of making vast amounts of money. Child slaves are being recruited in our communities, under our noses, in parks, town centres and outside schools across the country. Criminals actively target communities they deem to be easy targets: those with cut-to-the-bone services, thin policing and a belief that “this sort of thing doesn’t happen here”. (The Guardian, UK, 04.10.2019)


Raising voices - Empowering female farmers in drug crop cultivation areas

GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit und OSF – Open Society Foundations

GIZ and the OSF produced, edited, and authored this report. Both organizations are responsible for this publication's content. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Bonn, 2019


Guatemala joins ranks of cocaine producers as plantations and labs emerge

GUATEMALA CITY. Guatemala is no longer just a transit point for traffickers seeking to smuggle cocaine north towards the United States, authorities said on Thursday after security officials discovered several coca plantations and processing laboratories. (Reuters, 19.09.2019)


Fentanyl, Inc: How Corporate Sales Floors Dominate the New Drugs Market

On the edge of Shanghai, men wearing balaclavas meet journalist Ben Westhoff at sunset. He’s blindfolded, pushed into a pickup truck, and driven out into the Chinese jungle. When the blindfold is removed, Westhoff sees men patrolling catwalks high above a factory floor, automatic weapons hanging from shoulder straps. Below them, ragtag chemists busily tend to vials and beakers in which fentanyl precursors boil. In this remote corner of the Chinese countryside, Westhoff has found the source of America’s “opioid epidemic.”

Just kidding.

Fentanyl, Inc: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic (Grove Atlantic, September 2019) is the first book dedicated to the “third wave” of the overdose crisis, which claimed an estimated 68,000 lives in the US last year. (Filter, USA, 03.09.2019)


UNODC Warns of Rising Role of Organized Crime in Southeast Asia 

Transnational crime groups in Southeast Asia are growing increasingly aggressive and illicit businesses are generating massive growths in profit though the trafficking of drugs, people, and counterfeit goods, and other commodities, outlines a new United Nations report published Thursday. (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), 19.07.2019)


Afghanistan/Indien. The Afghanistan-India Drug Trail – Analysis

India’s geographical proximity with the ‘Golden Crescent’- the area comprising Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran, which is infamous for illicit production as well as transnational smuggling of drugs, is often cited as the reason for the rise in the drug trade that uses India as both a destination of narcotics as well as a transit point. According to the 2018 annual report of the International Narcotics Control board (INCB), India is rising as one of the major hubs for illicit drug trade.[1] The Trump administration has put India along with its other South Asian neighbours among the list of 21 countries that are major drug producing or transit nations.[2] However, over the years, even as the Afghan drug production has shown a marginal decrease, the drug cartels, organized criminals, smugglers, and peddlers across several countries have innovated in several ways to increase the consumer base in India. The ‘nexus’ with the law enforcement agencies and politicians has facilitated the trade, whereas lax counter-narcotics strategies have thwarted state efforts to curb it. (eurasiereview, 02.08.2019)


USA. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Sinaloa Cartel leader, sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years

Drug kingpin was convicted of running a continuing criminal enterprise and other drug-related charges including murder conspiracies. (US Department of Justice, 17.07.2019)


SPIEGEL-Gespräch: „Jeder Mord stärkt die Marke“ 

Drogenkartelle haben die gleichen Probleme wie globale Konzerne. Nur wer ihr Geschäftsmodell versteht, kann sie bekämpfen, sagt der britische Journalist Tom Wainwright. (Spiegel, 24.09.2016)


Indien. In largest drug haul, 150kg heroin seized in Delhi 

(...) Police said the contraband was smuggled into India from Afghanistan using a unique modus operandi wherein jute bags were soaked in liquefied heroin and packed with spices and condiments and sent to India. 

Once the bags reach the country, the contraband is retrieved at a special processing lab. (Hindustan Times, Indien, 20.07.2019)


Mexiko. Mexican Opium Prices Plummet, Driving Poppy Farmers to Migrate

The drop in prices is leading poppy farmers to seek work in the United States and other places.

(...) Some evidence is emerging that fentanyl, a powerful and highly addictive synthetic opiate, is replacing heroin and other drugs, particularly on the East Coast. The soaring production of heroin in recent years may also have accounted for the recent drop. (New York Times, 07.07.2019)


Mexiko. Do Mexican drug cartels make $500 billion a year?

Mexico’s violent drug cartels operate in the shadows, so it’s difficult to assess how much money they make. They’re not filing tax returns or getting audited. (Washington Post, 24.06.2019)


Drogenmärkte und Kriminalität (Workbook Drug Market and Crime DEUTSCHLAND) - Bericht 2018 des nationalen REITOX-Knotenpunkts an die EMCDDA (Datenjahr 2017/2018)

Franziska Schneider, Esther Dammer & Tim Pfeiffer-Gerschel, IFT Institut für Therapieforschung; Gabriele Bartsch, Deutsche Hauptstelle für Suchtfragene.V. (DHS); Maria Friedrich, Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung(BZgA)


Ring and bring drug services: Delivery dealing and the social life of a drug phone.

Friis Søgaard T, Kolind T, Birk Haller M, Hunt G.

Int J Drug Policy. 2019 Apr 18;69:8-15. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.02.003. 


Mexiko/Kolumbien. Mexican Drug Cartels Now Make Their Own Cocaine, Colombia Says

Colombia is now exporting coca base as well as refined cocaine - Trump attacked Colombian ally for failing to curb cocaine flow. (Bloomberg, USA, 15.05.2019)


Niederlande. Booby trap scuppers police raid on Dutch floating crystal meth lab 

Forensic experts were forced off cargo ship when it suddenly began taking on water. (The Guardian, UK, 13.05.2019)


Wall Street Market: Ermittler stoppen weltweit zweitgrößten Darknet-Markt 

Kokain, Cannabis, gefälschte Ausweise oder ausgespähte Daten: Das BKA hat die Betreiber des Wall Street Market festgenommen und die Server beschlagnahmt. (Zeit Online, 03.04.2019)


Russland. Half of Russia’s Alcohol Sold Illegally, Regulators Say

Almost half of the alcohol products sold in Russia last year were on the market illegally, the state Federal Alcohol Market Regulation Service (Rosalkogolregulirovanie) said this week. (Moscow Times, Russland, 19.04.2019)


Mexiko/China/USA/Kanada. No More Opium for the Masses

This report analyzes the socio-political effects of U.S. fentanyl use on the opium and heroin economy in Mexico. (NORIA – Network of Researchers in International Affairs, 10.02.2019)


Modeling cocaine traffickers and counterdrug interdiction forces as a complex adaptive system

Nicholas R. Magliocca, Kendra McSweeney, Steven E. Sesnie, Elizabeth Tellman, Jennifer A. Devine, Erik A. Nielsen, Zoe Pearson, David J. Wrathall

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Apr 2019, 201812459; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1812459116 


USA. ‘NarcoLogic’ computer model shows unintended consequences of cocaine interdiction 

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Efforts to curtail the flow of cocaine into the United States from South America have made drug trafficking operations more widespread and harder to eradicate, according to new research published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Oregon State University, USA, 02.04.2019)


USA/Kanada. Can legal weed ever beat the black market?

Even in Canada and some US states where marijuana is legal, the illegal market remains a tenacious competitor. (The Guardian, UK, 18.03.2019)


Italien/Mexiko. Tale of two drugs lords: from Cosa Nostra to Guzmán – it’s strictly business 

With the end of the El Chapo trial, Ed Vulliamy charts the lives of two dons a continent apart. (The Guardian, UK, 17.02.2019)


Mexiko/USA. After El Chapo conviction, Sinaloa drug cartel carries on

MEXICO CITY — Despite the arrest, extradition and now conviction of narco-lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, his Sinaloa cartel marches on. (PBS, USA, 12.02.2019)


Mexiko/USA. Urteil im „El Chapo“-Prozess : „Eine Show, um Amerikas Können und Macht zu demonstrieren“

Der mexikanische Drogenboss „El Chapo“ soll für den Rest seines Lebens im Gefängnis sitzen. Die amerikanische Regierung feiert sich für den Schuldspruch. Doch was bedeute das Urteil für den internationalen Drogenhandel? (faz.net, 13.02.2019)