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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)

https://filtermag.org/fentanyl-inc-corporate-sales/

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)

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/10259-unodc-warns-of-rising-role-of-organized-crime-in-southeast-asia

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)

https://www.eurasiareview.com/02082019-the-afghanistan-india-drug-trail-analysis/

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)

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/joaquin-el-chapo-guzman-sinaloa-cartel-leader-sentenced-life-prison-plus-30-years

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)

https://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-147013398.html

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)

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/in-largest-drug-haul-150kg-heroin-seized-in-delhi/story-sliOvLW8DTdS9Bfv67CluO.html

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)

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/07/world/americas/mexico-drugs-migration.html

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)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/06/24/do-mexican-drug-cartels-make-billion-year

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)

https://www.dbdd.de/fileadmin/user_upload_dbdd/05_Publikationen/PDFs/REITOX_BERICHT_2018/08_WB_Drogenmaerkte_Kriminalitaet_2018.pdf

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. 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955395919300520

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)

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-15/mexican-drug-cartels-now-make-their-own-cocaine-colombia-says

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)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/13/netherlands-police-raid-cargo-ship-crystal-meth-lab-moerdijk

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)

https://www.zeit.de/digital/2019-05/wall-street-market-darknet-bundeskriminalamt-festnahmen

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)

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/19/half-of-russias-alcohol-sold-illegally-regulators-say-a65312

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)

https://www.noria-research.com/no-more-opium-for-the-masses/

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 

https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/03/26/1812459116

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)

https://today.oregonstate.edu/news/%E2%80%98narcologic%E2%80%99-computer-model-shows-unintended-consequences-cocaine-interdiction

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)

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/mar/17/legal-weed-black-market-california-gavin-newsom

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)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/17/tale-two-drug-lords-el-chapo-guzman-salvatore-riina-mexico-italy

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)

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/after-el-chapo-conviction-sinaloa-drug-cartel-carries-on

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)

https://www.faz.net/aktuell/gesellschaft/kriminalitaet/usa-feiert-el-chapo-urteil-als-schlag-gegen-drogen-16038539.html

Why Europe Has Dodged America's Fentanyl Crisis

Europe's most lucrative heroin markets seem ripe for a fentanyl takeover. But why the no-show? (Vice, UK, 07.02.2019)

https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/9kpkb5/why-europe-has-dodged-americas-fentanyl-crisis

Schweiz. Fazit. ForschungsSpiegel von Sucht Schweiz: Was Sie schon immer über den illegalen Drogenmarkt wissen wollten. 

Wie sieht der Markt für illegale Substanzen in der Schweiz aus? Wieviel Heroin wird konsumiert und was kostet es? Wie und wo kann der Stoff gekauft werden? Wie rein ist Heroin resp. wie oft wird es gestreckt? Und womit? In welcher Form wird das Heroin verkauft und wer kontrolliert den Heroinmarkt in der Schweiz? Wieviel kann in diesem Markt umgesetzt und verdient werden? Auf diese und weitere Fragen liefert MARSTUP – eine Studie zum Markt von illegalen Substanzen im Kanton Waadt – zum Teil erstaunliche Antworten. Es handelt sich um die erste interdisziplinäre Studie dieser Art in der Schweiz. (SUCHTMAGAZIN, 05/2018, Schweiz)

https://shop.addictionsuisse.ch/download/9682310932a769dda3f96bb9832db690048461d4.pdf

USA. “Exhilarating”—The Life of a Career Drug Dealer Illustrates Hard Truths

Casper has lived a life out straight out of Pulp Fiction. Over a 26-year career selling illicit drugs across the United States, he has gone from peddling nickel bags of heroin on street corners to running interstate trafficking networks, then back to scraping quarters for the bus fare. Since the age of 15 he has used and sold drugs, battled a heroin addiction, held up police at gunpoint, lived destitute in cheap motels, and bought BMWs in cash. (Filter Magazine, USA, 30.01.2019)

https://filtermag.org/2019/01/30/exhilarating-career-drug-dealer-legalization/

Spanien. Spanish police say drugs gang used drones to spy on officers 

Smugglers monitored for possible police presence as hashish shipments approached. (The Guardian, UK, 28.01.2019)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/28/spanish-drug-smugglers-who-used-drones-to-spy-on-police-are-arrested

Venezuela/Trinidad. Venezuelan pirates - the new scourge of the Caribbean

As Venezuela's economy collapses, a tide of lawlessness is spreading to the nearby island of Trinidad. Its fishermen now live in fear of Venezuelan pirates, discovers Colin Freeman, while Venezuelan smugglers exchange drugs and guns for basic necessities. (BBC, 28.01.2019)

https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-47003108

Neu: Journal of Illicit Economies and Development (JIED), Volume 1 - Issue 1 – 2018 (open access)

Harausgeber: International Drug Policy Unit US Centre, London School of Economics, London, UK

https://jied.lse.ac.uk/1/volume/1/issue/1/

Afrika. UN: Crime and Drugs in West and Central Africa ‘alarming’ 

West Africa is facing increased trafficking in opioids, cocaine and methamphetamine, the profits of which often go to armed terrorist groups, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported Wednesday. (OCCRP - Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, USA, 21.12.2018)

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/9056-un-crime-and-drugs-in-west-and-central-africa-alarming

Afghanistan: How does the Taliban make money?

(...) The Taliban, the main insurgent group in Afghanistan with an estimated 60,000 fighters, now controls more territory in Afghanistan than at any point since its removal from power by the US-led coalition in 2001.

(...) Maintaining this level of insurgency requires a great deal of funding, from sources both within and outside the country.

So how does the Taliban support itself? (BBC, 22.12.2018)

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-46554097

Studie Cannabis-Produkte werden immer stärker 

Der THC-Gehalt von Haschisch und Marihuana hat in den letzten Jahren drastisch zugenommen - bei gleichbleibendem Preis. Das birgt erhebliche gesundheitliche Risiken. (Spiegel online, 30.12.2018)

http://www.spiegel.de/gesundheit/diagnose/cannabis-studie-die-potenz-von-haschisch-steigt-und-damit-das-gesundheitsrisiko-a-1245899.html