Representatives of the police forces that make up the working group on drug trafficking by air and sea from seven Latin American countries met for three days to address the problems existing between Latin America and Europe. During the meeting, they worked towards obtaining a shared overview of cocaine trafficking from countries where production, transit and consumption take place, with the aim of strengthening international operational cooperation and sharing good practices in the fight against drug trafficking.
Representatives of Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, joined members from France, Italy and Portugal to identify and address strategic and operational aspects related to the new cocaine routes. They also worked to define the production of an intelligence product on new cocaine routes and organised crime.
Strong support from the European Union in the fight against drug trafficking
The meeting was opened by the Ambassador of the European Union in Brazil, Ignacio Ybáñez, who talked about the European Union’s support to the EL PAcCTO Programme, particularly the attendees and their hard work to promote international cooperation to combat illegal drug trafficking. Ybáñez explained that “the fight against drug trafficking, as well as the threats to security and health inherent to this trade, have long been a priority for the European Union and a cornerstone of our foreign policy”, adding that there is a pressing need to find innovative, technology-based solutions to counter criminal operations.
The meeting was supported and benefited from the experience of institutions such as Ameripol, Europol, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), projects funded by the European Union such as SEACOP V, CRIMJUST, MAOC, COLIBRI and EMPACT. Operational information was exchanged and coordinated work synergies were established through air and maritime working groups to address the current situation of the participating countries to reach agreements and specific commitments to activities and specific products to be carried out in the months to come.
Cooperation is essential to effective information sharing
Each country was able to present its situation in terms of air and maritime drug trafficking, which served to establish joint working mechanisms and develop strategies for streamlined information sharing between operational services, as well as future priorities, strategies and work operations to strengthen the fight against drug trafficking between Latin America and the European Union.
Narcotics trafficking and the IDEAL 1.0
Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico and Panama, with support from EL PAcCTO, organised the first Evaluation of the Threat of Transnational Organised Crime in Latin America – IDEAL 1.0, where the top priority was drug trafficking, particularly cocaine trafficking, identifying the maritime route as the means of transport that carries the largest amount of drug product in Latin America, exposing organised criminal groups that combine shipments of cocaine with other cargo, such as cannabis and arms.
Bolivia deals a significant blow to organised criminals
As a result of the first international workshop on new cocaine routes in 2021, promoted by EL PAcCTO, and exchanges that began at this meeting, the Anti-Drug Directorate of the National Police of Peru, the Bolivian Special Force to Fight Drug Trafficking and the Federal Police of Brazil are now sharing information, and have conducted four successful operations in Bolivia with excellent results (seizures, arrests, destruction of material).