UNODC, EU and five countries of the Amazon join forces in preventing the diversion of chemical precursors for illicit drug manufacture

November 9, 2010 - The traffic of chemicals needed to produce cocaine, heroin and stimulants such as amphetamines, methamphetamines and ecstasy - commonly called chemical precursors - is a concern in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. The dynamics associated with the methods of diversion, mainly through legal trade, are complex and constantly involve new forms of trafficking. Limited knowledge and ability to share information on production, the types and quantities of chemicals that have been used, in turn, hinder the control of chemicals precursors in national and regional levels.

In order to strengthen control mechanisms, particularly in the borders, for preventing the diversion of drug precursors and establish partnerships between the control and enforcement agencies of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela, the authorities responsible for administrative control and oversight of each country, European experts in the field and representatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, participate, until next Friday, November 12, in Manaus Brazil, in a workshop on the Control of Chemical Precursors.
According to the UNODC representative for Brazil and Southern Cone, Mr. Bo Mathiasen, preventing the diversion of chemical precursors is one of the ways to fight drug trafficking and the organized crime based on this type of crime. "By inhibiting the access of organized crime to chemical precursors, preventing the diversion and trafficking of such substances, it is possible to effectively reduce the production of cocaine hydrochloride and certainly weaken the illegal drug trade," said Mr. Mathiasen.

The training workshop proposes a review of concepts and tools used in the participating country and in Europe. During the five-day meeting, the authorities responsible for the control of chemical precursors will become acquainted with investigation and inspection techniques; review legal and regulatory aspects, as well as operational, administrative and strategies in their countries and the region, aiming at the improvement of their countries' investigation capacities to detect, confiscate and seize chemical precursors used in the manufacture of illicit drugs. The idea is to exchange experiences and techniques and then make efforts to harmonize the operations between national police forces, based on the good practices learned along the workshop.

According to the coordinator of Prelac, the Prevention of Diversion of Drug Precursors in Latin America and the Caribbean project, Mr. Flavio Mirella, regional cooperation is essential to fight the trafficking of chemical precursors and, consequently, to fight drug trade. "The most important issue is international cooperation. This is a common problem. Three of the countries participating in the workshop are producers of coca leaf and cocaine hydrochloride. The other two are producers of chemical precursors and transit countries for cocaine. Nowadays countries are also producing synthetic drugs, what requires increased vigilance in the pharmaceutical industry and more control over customs", said Mirella.

The workshop was developed under the Prelac project, which is funded by the European Union and implemented by UNODC, in 12 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The project's main objective is to contribute to the fight against illicit drug trafficking, providing assistance to the region in fighting the diversion of chemical precursors from licit trade.

Prelac´s activities include the reinforcement of the capacity of national control authorities to achieve measurable results in Latin America and the Caribbean, in addition to enable the control and apprehension of diverted chemical precursors as well as the prosecution of those responsible.


More information:

Andrea Catta Preta
Communication Assistant
fone: (+5561) 3204-7206
mobile: (+5561) 8118-0910

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