IMT, a UNODC-Uzbekistan Joint Initiative, Presented on Operations and Seizures in 2019

Joint monitoring missions of the State Customs Committee, Ministry of Internal Affairs, State Security Service, the National Centre Information-Analytical on Drug Control under the Cabinet of Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan and UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia to six Interagency Mobile Teams (IMT) deployment sites in Fergana, Gulistan, Nukus, Tashkent, Termez, and Samarkand IMT offices took place from 21 October - 1 November 2019.

The monitoring missions provided opportunities to identify successes and challenges facing the IMTs, strengthening inter-agency collaboration to achieve the goals of the initiative and effectively utilize the knowledge and skills acquired during the training courses and equipment provided.

During the monitoring missions, the IMT officers presented overview of their joint operations aimed at combatting transnational organized criminal groups involved in trafficking of opiates from Northern provinces of Afghanistan to Uzbekistan, as well as illicit trafficking of other controlled substances to Uzbekistan. In particular, in Syrdarya region as was reported in October 2019, IMTs were successful in seizure of large amount of heroin; 20 kg 32 g of heroin were seized in attempt to being transported from Tajikistan to Kazakhstan through Uzbekistan. These are one of many examples of successful implementation of the project and it's main achievements in the fight against drug trafficking.

Mr. Bakhtiyor Rajapov, First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, met the mission team and highlighted the importance of IMTs and noted that " the main achievement of the project is a significant enhancement of inter-agency cooperation between the law enforcement agencies. Today, no any significant operation is conducted without IMT's participation. The Mobile teams contributed significantly to the seizures in all regions of their operation."

Within the framework of the monitoring missions, a training course on "Strengthening the coordination of interagency work of IMT officers" was conducted in each visited city. IMT officers from neighboring regions joined the course to get more information on modules "Countering trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors - identifying possible challenges, threats and risks", "Drug-related situation in the region in the first half of 2019", "Changes in the national legislation to regulate the legal circulation of potent substances" and "Modern methods of smuggling and distribution of drugs using the Internet". These sessions will contribute to further application of interagency operational interaction within IMTs in combating drug trafficking.

The IMT initiative is implemented under Sub-Programme 1 of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia for 2015-2019 with financial support of the Government of Japan. The initiative aims to address the challenges of countering narcotics in Uzbekistan and facilitate enhancement of the relevant agencies in the country by providing technical assistance in establishment of Interagency Mobile Teams, creating required institutional and legal frameworks, procurement of equipment, delivering training courses and workshops.

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