Although the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected air traffic worldwide, the AIRCOP network remains attentive and operational. In June 2020, several of the AIRCOP JAITFs in collaboration with partners and beneficiaries in Latin America and the Caribbean intercepted multiple illicit commodities that included:
- 95 kg of cannabis from six different and independent seizures made by the JAITF in Barbados. Other seizures included 7 pistols and several rounds of ammunition.
- Over 17kg of cocaine, intercepted by Colombia, Paraguay and Peru as a result of 13 independent inspections. The drugs were destined for multiple international locations including Canada, the Philippines, Spain, China, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and the USA.
The methods of concealment were diverse and involved cosmetic bottles, COVID-19 mask boxes, picture frames, artifacts and metal tubing.
AIRCOP has been part of the cocaine route programme, now Global Illicit flows programme of the European union, since 2010. AIRCOP aims to build interdiction capacities at selected international airports across the globe by establishing Joint Airport Interdiction Task Forces (JAITFs). The JAITFs are connected to international law enforcement databases and communication networks (INTERPOL’s I-24/7 and WCO’s CENcomm) to encourage real-time transmission of information aimed at intercepting illicit shipments. The project also seeks to promote intelligence and information sharing between services at national and international level, as well as promote an intelligence-led approach to countering drug trafficking.
During the pandemic, AIRCOP has provided e-learning courses for its network of partners on topics such as human trafficking, air cargo and courier traffic management and ethical practise.
Click this link for more information on the AIRCOP project.