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UK. Drogen mit Drohnen in Gefängnisse geflogen - Haftstrafen 

Eine Bande soll in England Drogen im Wert von 550.000 Pfund in Gefängnisse geschmuggelt haben. Nun sind mehrere Mitglieder zu Haftstrafen verurteilt worden. (Spiegel online, 26.10.2018)

http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/justiz/grossbritannien-drogen-mit-drohnen-in-gefaengnisse-geflogen-haftstrafen-a-1235441.html

Mexiko. Neue Rangordnung bei Mexikos Drogenkartellen: Auf "El Chapo" folgt "El Mencho" 

Einst war Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán der mächtigste mexikanische Drogenboss. Nun schickt sich ein einstiger Weggefährte an der Spitze der "Jalisco Nueva Generación" an, seinen Platz einzunehmen. Mit brutalen Mitteln. (Spiegel online, 22.10.2018)

http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/justiz/mexiko-drogenkartell-jalisco-nueva-generacion-wird-immer-maechtiger-a-1234441.html

WHO. Vertrag über Kampf gegen illegalen Tabakhandel tritt in Kraft

Der illegale Handel mit Zigaretten und anderen Tabakprodukten soll künftig konsequenter bekämpft werden. 40 Länder haben einen Vertrag ratifiziert, der am 25. September in Kraft tritt, wie die Weltgesundheitsorganisation (WHO) heute berichtete. (aerzteblatt.de, 28.06.2018)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/96122/Vertrag-ueber-Kampf-gegen-illegalen-Tabakhandel-tritt-in-Kraft

Europa. Criminal networks involved in the trafficking and exploitation of underage victims in the EU

This report is produced in the framework of the EU Policy Cycle for organised and serious international crime. The Justice and Home Affairs Council defined its priorities for 2018-2021 based on Europol’s Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA), released in March 2017.

Trafficking in human beings (THB) is one of the identified crime priorities of the current EU Policy Cycle 2018-2021.

The aim is to disrupt organised crime groups (OCGs) involved in intra-EU human trafficking and human trafficking from the most prevalent external source countries for the purposes of labour exploitation and sexual exploitation, including those groups using legal business structures to facilitate or disguise their criminal activities. (Europol - European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, DOCUMENT REF No: 1001370, Den Haag, Oktober 2018) 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/publications-documents/criminal-networks-involved-in-trafficking-and-exploitation-of-underage-victims-in-eu

UK. Organised crime group mixed potentially lethal drug fentanyl and posted it around the world 

Three men have admitted running a dark web business selling the potentially lethal drugs fentanyl and carfentanyl to customers across the UK and worldwide.

Jake Levene, 22, Lee Childs, 45, and Mandy Christopher Lowther, 21, mixed the drugs with bulking agents and then posted them to customers throughout the UK as well as the US, Germany, Norway, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Canada, France, Singapore, Holland and Spain. (NCA – National Crime Agency, UK, 29.05.2018)

http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/1367-organised-crime-group-mixed-potentially-lethal-drug-fentanyl-and-posted-it-around-the-world

Connecting the Dots . . . - Human Rights, Illicit Cultivation and Alternative Development

How can we resolve the tensions between current drug control policies and states’ human rights obligations? The international human rights framework clearly establishes that, in the event of conflicts between obligations under the UN Charter and other international agreements, human rights obligations take precedence. As legally regulated cannabis markets start to grow, now is the time to secure a legitimate place for small farmers using alternative development, human rights and fair trade principles. (Transnational Institute (TNI), Niederlande, Oktober 2018)

https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/tni-2018_connecting_the_dots.pdf

Afghanistan. Taliban commander orders closure of opium labs in towns and cities 

Recording suggests movement fears local discontent as US airstrikes target facilities in built-up areas

A Taliban commander in the Afghan province of Helmand has ordered all drug labs to be moved out of the urban areas the insurgency controls as US airstrikes targeting the facilities are killing a rising number of civilians, according to a recorded conversation obtained by the Guardian. (The Guardian, UK, 28.05.2018)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/28/taliban-commander-orders-closure-of-opium-labs-in-towns-and-cities

EMCDDA. Captagon: understanding today's illicit market

Summary

Captagon is reported to be a commonly used stimulant in the Middle East. In addition, some recent media reports have linked this drug to perpetrators of terrorist acts in Europe or terrorist groups based in areas of conflict in the Middle East. This report aims to provide an overview of what is known about the captagon phenomenon, and how it may concern Europe, to assist those working in the illicit drugs field who may need to respond to the issue. (EMCDDA,Lissabon,Oktober 2018)

http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/system/files/publications/9783/20184976_TDAU18002ENN_PDF.PDF

Crypto-Market Enforcement - New Strategy and Tactics

Alois Afilipoaie and Patrick Shortis

GDPO Situation Analysis, Global Drug Policy Observatory und Swansea University, June 2018. 

http://www.swansea.ac.uk/media/GDPOSitAnalysisJune2018AfilipoaieShortis.pdf

Malta, A Modern Smugglers’ Hideout

Malta has become a “crossroad of illegal trafficking,” said Col. Giuseppe Campobasso, who heads anti-drug law enforcement for Italy’s financial police in Palermo. His unit is part of the Libeccio International operation of the Guardia di Finanza, collaborating with Spanish, French, Greek and Italian authorities in tackling illegal trafficking at sea.

Malta’s central Mediterranean location makes it prime smuggler territory, but it has other charms for them as well. Shell companies proliferate there. Vessels change names and ownership with ease, swapping national flags from Togo to Tanzania to Belize.

Investigators say the smugglers innovate constantly, scouting new routes and implementing new techniques, from masquerading as fishermen to interspersing legitimate cargo with illegal wares. The trade crosses many borders around the Mediterranean, from the ports of Spain all the way east to the island of Cyprus.

The accused smugglers have one thing in common: connections on Malta. (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), Oktober 2018)

https://www.occrp.org/en/thedaphneproject/malta-a-modern-smugglers-hideout

Süd-Ost-Asien. ‘Alarming levels’ of methamphetamine trafficking in Asia’s Mekong, UN warns

Organized crime groups in Asia’s Mekong region have intensified the production and trafficking of highly-addictive methamphetamine, extending the illegal trade into countries such as Australia, Japan and New Zealand, senior drug policy leaders warned on Monday at a United Nations-backed regional conference. (UN News, 21.05.2018)

https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/05/1010262

USA. Trapped by the ‘Walmart of Heroin’ (Feature)

A Philadelphia neighborhood is the largest open-air narcotics market for heroin on the East Coast. Addicts come from all over, and many never leave. (New York Times, 10.10.2018)

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/10/magazine/kensington-heroin-opioid-philadelphia.html

Afghanistan. Last year's record opium production in Afghanistan threatens sustainable development, latest survey reveals

In 2017, opium cultivation in Afghanistan reached a record high with an estimated 328,000 hectares, up 63 per cent compared with 201,000 hectares in 2016.

According to the latest survey report released today by UNODC, last year's record levels of production has led to unprecedented levels of potential heroin production. From the 2017 opium harvest, some 550-900 tons of heroin of export quality (purity between 50 and 70 per cent) can be produced. (UNODC, 21.05.2018)

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2018/May/last-years-record-opium-production-in-afghanistan-threatens-sustainable-development--latest-survey-reveals.html

China/USA. Fentanyl crisis: Is China a major source of illegal drugs?

Amid tension between China and the US over trade, there's also friction over another issue - the illegal trade in synthetic drugs. (BBC, UK, 24.09.2018)

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-45564744

Venezuela. Drug Trafficking Within the Venezuelan Regime: The ‘Cartel of the Suns’

In Latin America, criminal entrepreneurs in the form of cartels, have traditionally run drug trafficking. In Venezuela, it is managed from within government, and if Nicolás Maduro wins another term in office, Venezuela’s position in the global cocaine business will solidify. (Insight Crime, Venezuela Investigative Unit, 17.05.2018)

https://www.insightcrime.org/investigations/drug-trafficking-venezuelan-regime-cartel-of-the-sun/

Belgien. Cocaine smuggling is corrupting Antwerp politics, says mayor 

Bart De Wever blames Dutch drug bosses for tenfold rise in drug finds at Belgian port

The scale of cocaine smuggling at the port of Antwerp – through which half of Europe’s supply of the drug reportedly passes – is so vast that corruption of local politics is inevitable, the city’s mayor has said.

Bart De Wever, who has been mayor since 2013, said the enormous amount of cash flooding in because of drug smuggling at Europe’s second biggest port has permeated the Belgian city. (The Guardian, UK, 03.09.2018)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/03/cocaine-smuggling-is-corrupting-antwerp-politics-says-mayor

Arzneimittelfälschungsschutz betrifft rund 700 Millionen Packungen pro Jahr

Bonn – Auf die Bedeutung des kommenden Fälschungsschutzes für Arzneimittel hat heute das Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte (BfArM) hingewiesen. „Arzneimittelfälschungen können für Patienten gravierende gesundheitliche Folgen haben. Die Fälscher nehmen in Kauf, dass schwerkranke Patienten möglicherweise mit verfälschten oder unwirksamen Substanzen behandelt werden“, sagte der BfArM-Präsident Karl Broich heute bei einer Tagung zum Thema. (aerzteblatt.de, 08.05.2018)

https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/95028/Arzneimittelfaelschungsschutz-betrifft-rund-700-Millionen-Packungen-pro-Jahr

Illegale Märkte im Darknet: Der Kiffer ist König

Illegale Märkte im Darknet arbeiten verblüffend erfolgreich mit Händlerbewertungen, Moderatoren und Treuhandsystem – auch ohne bürgerliches Gesetz im Rücken. Kann der legale Online-Handel daraus lernen?

Christian Buck, Wolfgang Stieler

Technology Review (Auszug in: Heise online, 13.07.2018)

https://www.heise.de/tr/artikel/Der-Kiffer-ist-Koenig-4093890.html

Wie der Drogenhandel im Darknet funktioniert (Video)

Eine Recherche des Tages Anzeigers zeigt, wie einfach Drogen im Netz zu erwerben sind. (Tagesanzeiger, Schweiz, 2018, 07:26)

https://podcast.newsnetz.tv/podcast/news/335416h.mp4

Belgien. A Murdered Journalist's Last Investigation · Going Bananas: Flanders Transformed into Hub for International Cocaine Trafficking

When he was murdered by an unknown assassin earlier this year, Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak was part of an international team looking into foreign drug smugglers suspected of laundering money in his country.

Kuciak and his fiancée were shot and killed on Feb. 21. He was collaborating with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), the Investigative Reporting Project Italy, and the Czech Center for Investigative Journalism, which have all contributed to the present investigation.

In the wake of his death, the team has continued reporting, uncovering more about the criminal group and how it operated.

The investigation reveals an international ring of drug traffickers with ties to the Italian mafia. Based in Belgium, with operations in the Netherlands, it could count on suppliers from Costa Rica and Colombia and secret large caches of cocaine in fruit shipments from Latin America to Western Europe.

A major Belgian law enforcement operation named Raak (the Dutch word for “strike”) took down part of the network — only to see its mastermind murdered before he could be brought to justice.

Its remaining parts, spread across the world, have continued to function despite the Belgian police action. And even in Belgium, cocaine traffickers were quick to resume their work. (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), 20.07.2018)

https://www.occrp.org/en/amurderedjournalistslastinvestigation/going-bananas-flanders-transformed-into-hub-for-international-cocaine-trafficking

Kolumbien. The battle over Colombia's coca fields (Video)

Despite the 2016 peace deal in Colombia, the country's cocaine trade is still flourishing.

Some blame the government for concentrating too hard on peace, others say that by going clean the Farc rebels have left a vacuum in the trade they once ruled.

Katy Watson visited Colombia's coca fields to hear from the people growing the crop, as well as those trying to stamp it out. (BBC, 19.02.2018, Video, 03:02)

http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-latin-america-43815159/the-battle-over-colombia-s-coca-fields

Mosambik. How WhatsApp has helped heroin become Mozambique’s second biggest export

As many as 40 tonnes of heroin could be passing through Mozambique every year, making it the country's second biggest export, in a trade that is boosted by the use of mobile phone apps, writes Mozambique analyst Joseph Hanlon. (BBC, 09.07.2018)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-44726227

Darknet markets ecosystem – Lifetimes and reasons for closure of over 100 global darknet markets offering drugs, sorted by date (Poster)

Summary

Darknet markets — also known as cryptomarkets — provide a largely anonymous platform for trading in a range of illicit goods and services. It is estimated that around two thirds of the offers on darknet markets are drug-related. Drug sales on these markets, although modest when compared to the overall retail drug market, are significant and appear to be expanding.  EU-based suppliers are important players in the darknet ecosystem, the evolution of which is shown in this timeline. (EMCDDA, Europol, Lissabon, April 2018)

http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/posters/2018/darknet-markets-ecosystem_en

Sales and Advertising Channels of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS): Internet, Social Networks, and Smartphone Apps.

Miliano C, Margiani G, Fattore L, De Luca MA.

Brain Sci. 2018 Jun 29;8(7). pii: E123. doi: 10.3390/brainsci8070123. Review.

http://www.mdpi.com/2076-3425/8/7/123

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

Kanada. Canada to Fight Laundering of Drug Money through Casinos 

British Columbia is going to crack down on large-scale transnational money laundering in its casinos that is tied to the opioid trade.

„Money laundering isn’t a victimless crime,” said Attorney General David Eby on Wednesday. “It’s linked to the opioid crisis, and deaths on our streets.”

The announcement came after an independent report from Peter German, a former Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner, showed the extent to which casinos are being used to launder drug money.

At a news conference on Wednesday, German said it is hard to put a number on how much has been laundered in the past years but suggested a minimum of CA$100 million (US$75 million), and added it could be much higher. (occrp.org, 28.06.2018)

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/8271-canada-to-fight-laundering-of-drug-money-through-casinos

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/

Offline constraints in online drug marketplaces: An exploratory analysis of a cryptomarket trade network

Norbutas, Lukas

International Journal of Drug Policy , Volume 56 , 92 - 100 

https://www.ijdp.org/article/S0955-3959(18)30086-0/fulltext