Malaysian customs discovered six tonnes of African pangolin scales hidden beneath a layer of sacks containing cashew nuts. This was the first seizure at Port Klang since September 2017 and may indicate that traffickers are responding to greater security at other Malaysian ports as well as ports in Singapore where, last year, 40 tonnes of pangolin scales was seized. The investigation surrounding the six tonne seizure continues and to-date, no arrests have been made.
Following the record seizure of 1.8 tonnes of cocaine in Guinea Bissau last year, 12 suspects have now been tried and convicted. Sentences ranging from four to fourteen years apply to the 10 suspects who were in custody at the time of the trial. The two suspects, believed to be the ringleaders, that were not arrested were convicted in their absence and will each face sentences of 16 years when captured.
Recent quick succession seizures of illicit drugs in Spain with an estimated value of 306 million EUR indicate that criminal organisations are exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to move large amounts of drugs to Europe. Two of the seizure operations were coordinated by the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre (MAOC) who highlighted the increase in such seizures over such a short space of time.
The US have announced the start of a regional maritime counter-narcotics operation in the Caribbean. This announcement follows charges, laid by the by the US, against Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela for “narco-terrorism”.
Dutch Customs authorities have announced the recent seizure of more than 2 tonnes of cocaine originating from Costa Rica and Brazil. The two consignments of 1.2 tonnes and 865kgs were discovered at the port of Rotterdam and were destined for Antwerp in Belgium and Zwaag in the Netherlands.