TOLEDO, Spain – Law enforcement officials from countries worldwide have called for enhanced information sharing to better prevent, investigate, disrupt and ultimately prosecute those responsible for drug trafficking.
Underlining the global impact posed by drug trafficking, the representatives of over 100 countries from specialized anti-narcotics agencies as well as from international cooperation divisions and INTERPOL National Central Bureaus gathered at the first INTERPOL Global Conference on Illicit Drugs to more efficiently tackle the trafficking of drugs.
In this respect, with the recent seizure by Spanish authorities of nearly nine tonnes of cocaine, the largest ever cache of drugs seized in a single container in Europe, highlighting the scale of the drugs problem, Germán Lopez Iglesias, Director General of the Spanish National Police said:
“The production, trafficking and use of drugs point to a worldwide expansion of this illegal market and the objective of the conference has been to intensify collaboration between countries against one of the great evils of the 21st century”.
The meeting also provided an opportunity to review recent developments, ramifications and convergences of drug trafficking with other criminal activities such as money laundering, cybercrime and weapons trafficking.
With over 250 million drug consumers worldwide, INTERPOL’s Executive Director for Police Services, Tim Morris, said: “The supply of illicit drugs everywhere around the globe is more abundant, more sophisticated and more diverse than it has ever been before.”
“The criminal structures operating the current drug scene are as well organized and managed as legitimate multinational companies. The economic benefits of their activities have been put at over USD 300 billion per year. This is where the focus needs to be. Once you trace the assets, you can identify and disrupt the network.”
“With support and cooperation of financial institutions, such as banks, we need to combine our efforts and resources to build synergies to efficiently trace the criminal assets generated,” added Mr Morris.
Through its global anti-corruption initiatives INTERPOL is an active partner in the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) jointly ran by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime and the World Bank.
The meeting also provided an opportunity for representatives to be presented with new technologies, such as the RELIEF database, a tool developed and provided by the Czech Republic to INTERPOL. It aims to better identify the origin and routes of compressed drug deliveries and shipments, through an automated comparative analysis of the tool-marks, logos and chemical compositions of drug packages.
Efficient cross-sector collaboration is also underpinned by operations, and in this respect INTERPOL’s Lionfish Operations have been held in every region of the world.
This INTERPOL-led series of operations has served as an important initiative for strengthening multilateral cross-border drug enforcement cooperation, providing effective channels of communications via INTERPOL’s secure police channel, I-24/7.