700 kg of cocaine was seized at the Yokohama seaport in Japan in March 2020. The drugs were hidden in a container transporting boxes of bananas. According to the Japanese authorities, the drugs more than likely arrived by mistake as a result of traffickers not being able to unload at ports prior to Yokohama.
Over 1600 kg of cannabis was seized as a result of a land-based operation in Zagora, Morocco. The ongoing investigation has led to the arrest of three suspects and the confiscation of cash and assets.
The 2019 Annual report of the European agency EUROJUST has been released. One of the key highlights of the report includes the entry into force of the European regulation allowing EUROJUST to become the “European Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation”. EUROJUST has finalised cooperation agreements with Georgia and Serbia and has provided international assistance in the areas of migrant smuggling, the trafficking in human beings, drug trafficking and cyber-crime. In the field of terrorism, EUROJUST established the Judicial Counter-Terrorism register.
Argentina, a transshipment point and growing consumer market for illicit drugs, closed its borders in support of mandatory quarantine restrictions brought in to combat the spread of the COVID-19. According to experts, organised crime organisations in the country are increasingly using clandestine crossings and private ports to smuggle drugs as the controls at key smuggling points, such as ports and seaports tighten. In addition, the street price of both cocaine and marijuana have increased as has the consumption of alcohol.
The U.S. Coast Guard collaborated with Costa Rican authorities and seized approximately 1,700 pounds of cocaine (approximately 770 kg) with an estimated value of more than $29 million. A fishing boat, suspected of smuggling narcotics, was noticed in international waters of the Pacific Ocean, Central America. The vessel was escorted into Costa Rica where authorisation allowed authorities to board. The drugs were recovered from numerous false compartments throughout the boat.
A Serbian businessman known as the ‘Serbian Al Capone and suspected of heading an important drug trafficking organisation in Serbia, with strong ties to drug smuggling groups in Latin America, has died from the effects of the COVID-19 virus. He was also suspected of being involved in heroin trafficking from Turkey, Macedonia and Bulgaria into Europe.