27 February to 3 March 2023 – On 27 February 2023, CRIMJUST held an official ceremony to inaugurate the experimental laboratory of the National Training Centre for Police (Escuela Nacional de Entrenamiento Policial – CENOP), in Tolima, Colombia. This ceremony concluded the remodelling of experimental coca cultivation and experimental laboratory facilities of the Training Centre, involving construction, renovation, and maintenance works, funded by the European Union Global Illicit Flows Programme, under the framework of the Global Programme on Criminal Disruption – CRIMJUST.
Representatives from the European Union, the Colombian National Police, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) addressed this opening ceremony, highlighting their commitment to developing technical knowledge to implement informed and coordinated responses to illicit drug trafficking and related organized crime. In his remarks, EU Ambassador for Colombia, His Excellency, Gilles Bertrand, expressed concern for the rising diversification and globalization of cocaine supply chains and thus commended the inter-regional scope and multi-stakeholder approach of this training. His remarks were echoed by Ms. Candice Welsch, Representative of the UNODC Regional Office for Andean Countries and Southern Cone, who further reiterated the importance of sharing specialized knowledge around cocaine production given the increased trafficking of cocaine intermediary products. Finally, Brigadier General William Oswaldo Rincón Zambrano, Head of the Police Unit for Peace, National Police of Colombia, expressed his appreciation to the UNODC and to the European Union for their generous and continued support in disseminating Colombia’s expertise at inter-regional levels.
This ceremony was followed by a 3-day inter-regional training, from 28 February to 3 March 2023, at the Training Centre, on “Effective Responses to Cocaine Processing and involved Chemical Substances”, delivered in partnership with the Integrated Illicit Crop Monitoring System (SIMCI). Some 32 investigators and prosecutors (including 5 women and 27 men) from Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Uruguay, Benin, Togo, and Cote d'Ivoire attended.
During this training, UNODC and SIMCI experts led a series of both theory and practical sessions on the chemical and technical processes involved in cocaine production in Colombia, from coca cultivation to cocaine hydrochloride, highlighting the use of chemical precursors and associated risks, along with the different cocaine intermediary products. Experts also shared investigative techniques used to detect, investigate, and dismantle clandestine drug production laboratories. Finally, ensuing discussions looked at illustrating various forms of modus operandi, including criminal methods of concealment, routes, and transportation modalities observed in different countries.
This inter-regional training aimed to not only strengthen practitioners technical and institutional capacity to develop targeting and disruption strategies to cocaine trafficking across supply chains, but further provided an opportunity for South-South Cooperation, facilitating new ties between law enforcement and criminal justice agencies based in Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa.
This inter-regional training was implemented under the framework of the Global Programme on Criminal Disruption – CRIMJUST, funded by the European Union Global Illicit Flows Programme, in partnership with the CRIMJUST regional project, funded by the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). While GPCD seeks to promote post-seizure investigations to disrupt organized crime business models, the CRIMJUST regional project aims to strengthen criminal justice responses to drug trafficking and related organized crime in Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, and Togo.
For more information, please visit:
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)