Countering Transnational Drug Related Crime

Working Meeting of Heads of Counter-Narcotics Operational Units Co-organised by UNODC and CARICC

On 6-7 February, 2012 a working meeting of the heads of counter-narcotics operational units aimed at coordinating efforts in combating transnational drug-related crime, was held in Almaty. The meeting was attended by more than 130 representatives of the competent authorities of the Central and West Asian countries, including member states of the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC) for combating illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors  and the Joint Planning Cell (JPC) of Triangular Initiative (TI), their partners, as well as representatives of relevant regional and international organizations including Belgium, Canada, China, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, India, Italy, Norway, Poland, Rumania, South Korea, Sweden, Turkey, UK, Ukraine, USA, Interpol, World Customs Organization (WCO), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Antiterrorist Centre of CIS (ATC CIS), Bureau of the Coordination of the fight against organized crime and other serious crime CIS (BCFOC CIS), Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), European Commission Taxation and Customs Directorate (TAXUD), Border Management in Central Asia (BOMCA), European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM), European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), ISAF.

This was the first meeting bringing together the law enforcement authorities of Afghanistan, its neighbours and partners, following the launch of the "Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries (RP)" among the eight countries of West and Central Asia facilitated by UNODC.  Through the RP and the Joint Declaration of Intent (7 December 2011, Vienna) importance of regional cooperation in drug control efforts was recognized and countries of the region resolved to enhance their counter narcotics cooperation.

The meeting co-organized by UNODC and CARICC was aimed to provide an opportunity for CN LE authorities of the RP countries and the partners of CARICC and JPC to review current state of multilateral operations, focus discussion on operation "Black Tulip" (Afghan opiates trafficking that involves West African traffickers) and on the growing trend of synthetic drugs trafficking.

The meeting provided an opportunity for sharing information on identified transnational drug trafficking groups and determining potential targets, on which coordinated or joint actions could be launched.  The participants identified ways of tackling problems in conducting joint operations, in particular, controlled deliveries.

The efforts made to date on regional cooperation related to precursor control were reviewed. Taking the discussion forward from the Delhi and Beijing recommendations from autumn 2011, counter-narcotics law enforcement authorities of the RP countries and the partners of CARICC and JPC identified next steps to enhance precursor control.

Participants of the meeting also discussed other initiatives of the regional and international organizations, including UNODC, on promoting operations to combat illicit trafficking of precursors, in particular: utilization of container shipping in smuggling of narcotic drugs and precursors (Container Control Programme); international operation "Global Shield" to combat illicit trafficking of precursors utilized in the production of drugs and improvised explosive devices.

Representatives of UNODC, JPC, and CARICC spoke on the topic "Practical implementation of UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring countries and the recommendations of the expert working groups of the Paris Pact Initiative" (Islamabad - June 2011, New Delhi - November 2011).

Throughout the working meeting special emphasis was placed on the organization of joint operations and investigations, or long-term operations to interdict illicit drug trafficking and their precursors.

The participant agreed that capacities and the platform of the regional entities including CARICC and JPC should be actively and effectively used for sharing of information and coordination of operations.

In the course of two days of the Working Meeting more than 20 separate bilateral and other restricted group meetings were held with the purpose of agreeing on suspects from transnational drug trafficking groups for potential joint or coordinated operations and investigations. The mechanisms of interaction and channels for communicating information among the interested parties were addressed.