UNODC, with financial support from the Russian Federation, promotes innovative approaches to countering illicit drug trafficking in Kyrgyzstan

Nowadays the implementation of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or drones into the daily operations of law enforcement agencies throughout the world become an objective necessity. This is because the application of their potential contributes to enormous enchaining of the ability of states to address the threats posed by transnational organized crime and illicit drug trafficking.

The identification and mapping of the sites cultivated with illicit narcotic plants in the Kyrgyz Republic are hampered by a number of factors, ranging from rough mountainous terrain to scarce law enforcement resources. Usually, the sites with illicit narcotic plants located in the areas that are difficult to access or sowing grow and hidden among agricultural crops.

In Kyrgyzstan, approximately 10 thousand hectares of land are "infected" by wild cannabis, from which marijuana and hashish are produced. Ephedra, is a raw material to produce methamphetamines, also grows wildly on the territory of the Republic. The total area affected by the tangle of this plant is over 55 thousand hectares.

Taking into account the emerging situation, the UNODC Programme Office in the Kyrgyz Republic, with the financial support from the Government of the Russian Federation, has launched a project to strengthen the capacity of the Mobile Operational Teams of the Counter Narcotics Service (CNS) of the Ministry of Interior of the Kyrgyz Republic. The project envisages development of legal framework, provision of specialized training for UAV operators as well as two sets of drones and two mobile platforms for their transportation and command control.

The algorithm for monitoring illicit narcotic plants and other wild-grown narcotics drugs crops in Kyrgyzstan, which has been developed and tested in practice includes several stages:

  • Collecting historical/statistical data on monitoring areas - to identify stable patterns. Until 1974, Kyrgyzstan was an industrial producer of cannabis with well-developed infrastructure and accounted for 16% of the world’s legal opium production.
  • Field surveys - to assess the characteristics of the underlying surface using spectrometers for subsequent analysis by different analytical methods.
  • Satellite monitoring - for early detecting of the areas with wild-grown cannabis and ephedra.
  • Filming from UAVs with the use of photo cameras , including hyperspectral cameras, to obtain orthophoto maps, 3D models, and hyperspectral maps, which will later become a basis for planning of organizational, preventive, and operational measures.
  • Visual confirmation of illicit narcotic plants, mapping, and data transfer to the analytical center of the CNS.
  • Constant control and surveillance through UAVs and other innovative technologies aimed at optimizing of human resources use. For example, combined use of UAVs and autonomous seismic recording systems to monitor remote or hard-to-reach illegal cultivation plots, smuggling trails or storage depots. Such approach increases the work of Mobile Operational Teams when using UAVs.     

Frequently, the law enforcement agencies dealing with measures to counter the drones that are being used for criminal purposes. This is done by introducing of counter-drone systems that allow drones to be landed, disabled or destroyed.

All these elements have been worked out in practice within the framework of the UNODC project and are now being put into practice by the Counter Narcotics Service of the Ministry of Interior of the Kyrgyz Republic. 

Story in Russian language 


For all inquiries, kindly contact Vasilina Brazhko

Communication and PR Specialist at

UNODC Criminal Justice and PVE Project in Central Asia

+996775987817 WhatsApp

vasilina.brazhko [at]