Largest drug seizure ever made in Guinea-Bissau by law enforcement officials

On 2 September 2019, the government of Guinea Bissau seized 1,947 kg of cocaine as a result of operation "NAVARA" led by the Judicial Police of Guinea-Bissau with the participation of the Transnational Crime Unit (TCU). Operation NAVARA was conducted in Caio and Caxungo in the northwest of the country, resulting in the arrest of six Bissau-Guineans, three Colombians and one Malian.

This successful operation shows the commitment and enhanced capacity of the Guinea-Bissau government in countering drug trafficking and transnational organized crime. The seized cocaine was incinerated on 7 September 2019 at the presence of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Interior, the Director of the Judicial Police, the Head of the TCU, as well as representatives from INTERPOL, the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Diplomatic Corps.

This seizure follows operation "CARAPAU" conducted in March 2019, during which 789 kg of cocaine were found in a false bottom of a truck. The Security Council reiterated, in Resolution 2458 (2019), its concerns over the threat to peace and stability posed by not only drug trafficking but trafficking in all forms as well as transnational organized crime and encouraged sustained efforts of the government of Guinea-Bissau, UNIOGBIS and UNODC in combating these threats.

Incineration of the seized drugs - 07 September 2019

Since 2008, UNODC has been on the forefront in supporting Bissau-Guinean authorities in their anti-trafficking efforts. UNODC programmes in the country include :

  • the West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI), a multi-stakeholder partnership between UNODC, the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA)/UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), the Department of Peace Operations (DPO) and INTERPOL, which supported the establishment of the Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) in Bissau in 2011;
  • the Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP), a joint UNODC-INTERPOL-World Customs Organization (WCO) global initiative that set up the Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force (JAITF) at Osvaldo Viera Airport resulting in a record number of cocaine seizures at Bissau airport since its establishment in April 2018;
  • the UNODC Global Maritime Crime Project (GMCP) that deployed a maritime law enforcement mentor to Guinea Bissau in 2018 and 2019;
  • and the joint UNODC-International Organization for Migration (IOM) project aimed at enhancing the capacities to detect, investigate and prosecute cases of trafficking in persons and providing assistance to victims of child trafficking in Guinea-Bissau.
  • Prior assistance included the strengthening of the criminal justice and penitential capacity of the country.

The recent dramatic increase of multi-ton cocaine seizures in the West African region indicates the resurgence of the West African route and calls for a renewed attention to the potential impact of this phenomenon on the stability of the region. 

UNODC remains committed to continue supporting countries in West Africa to enhance national capacity to tackle illicit trafficking and organized crime in line with the development of UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 16 which aims to " promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels."

For more information:

UNODC action against drug trafficking in West Africa