Several prisoners escaped from four Brazilian prisons after authorities announced the suspension of the one-day release programme. This decision was taken as a preventive measure to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus, COVID-19.
Honduras is becoming a cocaine producing country in addition to being a transit country. Reporting indicates that, between 2009 and 2020, 12 laboratories able to transform coca leaf into cocaine have been identified and dismantled.
The Colombian government has closed all Colombian borders to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, COVID-19. Experts have stressed that this measure may produce increases in organised crime as demand caused by closed borders increases the demand for illicit goods. The closing of the border with Venezuela is not thought to be an efficient measure as there exists many underground tunnels that will now become the focus for illicit trafficking.
33 narco-submarines were seized by the Colombian authorities in 2019. These vessels are used to move cocaine from Colombia to the US or to Europe and are very difficult to detect.
Ghana adopted the new Narcotics Control Commission Bill of 2019. This bill not only acknowledges that drug dependency is a public health issue but also strengthens the Ghanaian legal framework enabling authorities to be more effective, especially in terms of asset confiscation and offences involving money laundering.
Operation PANGEA XIII, led by INTERPOL, saw 90 countries participate to seize 34 000 counterfeit and sub-standards masks, and goods branded as “Corona spray, Coronavirus” and “Corona medicines”. In addition, the operation closed down 2500 web links that were advertising and selling illicit pharmaceuticals.
The Coronavirus pandemic will affect Mexican criminal groups as they experience greater difficulty to source illicit products such as precursor chemicals from China that supports the production of Fentanyl.
400kgs of heroin and 100kgs of Crystal-Meth were seized by Sri Lankan authorities on boats that came from the Pakistan Makran Coastline. In all, 16 suspects were arrested and the investigation remains ongoing. Heroin seizure are common in the area, however authorities are worried that the methamphetamine seizure signals the emergence of a new trend and that the Southern heroin route will now also support methamphetamine trafficking.
Despite lock-down measures, Belgian authorities announced that more than a tonne of drugs was seized in March, in additional to the 1.4 tonnes of drugs seized in third countries that was destined for Belgium. According to the authorities, traffickers were counting on a reduction in the number of inspections.
Thai authorities have seized 30 000 pills of ecstasy that had been shipped from Germany.
The US have charged Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela, with narco-terrorism. He is accused of being concerned with the trafficking of cocaine into the US. Consequently, the American Attorney General has offered a reward for any information leading to Nicolas Maduro’s arrest.