Interagency Mobile Teams of Uzbekistan: Advanced Capacity for Better Results

20 June 2019, Tashkent, Uzbekistan - UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia provided the Interagency Mobile Teams (IMTs) of Uzbekistan (namely the State Security Service, the Ministry of Interior, the State Security Service, National Information-Analytical Center on Drug Control under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan) with equipment at the amount of nearly $190 000 to enhance capacity of the teams in conducting joint operations to counter trafficking of Afghan narcotics through the territory of the country. The handover ceremony was held in advance of 26 June - the International day against drugs abuse and illicit trafficking.

 "Today we are handing over handheld narcotics and explosives detectors, portable video borescope systems for detection of contraband and other equipment for six IMT units deployed all over the country. The equipment will help IMT units to better detect contraband of illegal substances and will serve our ultimate goal of ensuring safety and health of individuals and communities." - noted Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, during the handover ceremony.

"We saw the formation of six IMTs a year ago. Over the past year we observed the progress in implementation of the project through the periodic reporting and visits to the IMT deployment sites. Based on the results achieved so far we are supportive of the initiative and approved extension of its duration." - said Ms. Yoko Yamoto, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Uzbekistan.

The initiative on Establishing Interagency Mobile Teams is an example of successful partnership with the Government of Uzbekistan in countering trafficking drugs in Uzbekistan. This unique initiative introduced new approaches by promoting counter-narcotics cooperation between different law enforcement agencies such as the State Security Service, the Ministry of Interior and the State Customs Committee at the operative level.

The IMTs are designed to be involved into the counter-narcotics and transnational organized crime investigations. Each LEA comes with its own mandate and comparative advantages that can be utilized to achieve overarching objectives.

Within the framework of the planned activities, UNODC provided technical assistance in setting up legislative and institutional frameworks, procurement of equipment with a total value of USD $1.1 million and delivering 12 training courses for the IMT and OCT officers.

Initial success of the initiative is witnessed in the numbers of the joint operations and seizures: only in 2018, the IMTs successfully conducted 27 joint operations in which more than 230 kgs of various drugs were seized including synthetic psychoactive substances.

The initiative on "Countering trafficking of Afghan narcotics in Uzbekistan through establishment of Interagency Mobile Teams" is being implemented under Sub-Programme 1 of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia (2015-2019) and generously funded by the Government of Japan.

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