20th Meeting of the Anti-Drug Trafficking Task Force

Bucharest, May 21, 2014 – During the two-day meeting carried out in Bucharest/Romania on 20th – 21st of May, over 60 experts from SELEC Members and partners (CARICC, France, Germany, INTERPOL, the Netherlands, RCC, SEEPAG, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine and USA) shared best practices and experience in the anti-drug trafficking field.

On this occasion, the 2013 Report on drug seizures in South Eastern Europe was presented. According to the figures and analysis, it was emphasized on the increase of the quantities of heroin, cocaine and cannabis products seized in comparison to the previous year. Participants from some Member States underlined that the new psychoactive substances, better known as “Legal Highs”, pose a serious threat for the youngsters.

The Anti-Drug Trafficking Task Force was set up in 2000 being coordinated by Republic of Bulgaria. In 2013, 23 joint investigations were coordinated by SELEC under the umbrella of Anti-Drug Trafficking Task Force.

During the meeting, there were presented some successful joint investigations carried out in 2013 in this field:

– “TIRANA” on counter heroin trafficking, involving Republic of Bulgaria, Romania and Federal Republic of Germany, which led to the identification of 15 members of an organized crime group and seizure of 30 kg of heroin. This operation was awarded a first prize for the first semester of 2013 by SELEC Bi-annual Awards Committee.

– “LIRA”, initiated between Republic of Bulgaria and Republic of Serbia, targeting an organized crime group involved in heroin trafficking along the Balkan route. In March 2013 after coordinated measures, 11 kg of heroin were confiscated and 2 persons arrested. This operation was awarded a second prize by SELEC Bi-annual Awards Committee for the second semester of 2013.

– “BONA LAMA”, developed by Republic of Croatia, Hungary and Montenegro targeting an organized crime group dealing with cocaine trans-border trafficking. The joint investigation resulted in the arrest of 3 persons and seizure of 621 grams high purity cocaine. This operation was awarded a third prize for the second semester of 2013 by SELEC Bi-annual Awards Committee.

– “WALKER” was conducted by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Croatia, Montenegro and Republic of Serbia, being jointly supported by SELEC and EU IPA 2010 Programme. The operation succeeded with the arrest of 48 persons and seizure of different types of drugs, mainly marijuana (skunk). 

The representatives of the Member States presented other substantial anti-drug joint investigations, highlighting new trends, modus operandi and smuggling routes.

CARICC made a presentation about the 2013 drug trafficking situation in Central Asian region, while INTERPOL briefed the participants on its activities and projects and expressed its willingness to cooperate with SELEC. At the same time, DEA presented a global overview on drug trafficking situation and trends.

During meeting it was also presented the Project on Cross-Border Deployment of Undercover Officers and Informants, developed and implemented in 2013-2014 by SELEC, upon the initiative of Bulgarian authorities and having the financial support of US EUCOM. The aim of the project was to create an interactive network of respective units in the Member States, providing practical trainings exercises and having regional workshops that brought the experts together to discuss practical issues, to share best practices and understand each country’s specificities in the field. As a tangible result of the project, a Manual on Cross-Border Deployment of Undercover Officers and Informant was developed seeking to improve the cooperation among the Member States’ law enforcement authorities, being a helpful instrument in this field.

At the end of the 20th Meeting of the Anti-Drug Trafficking Task Force, SELEC reaffirmed its readiness to support and coordinate more joint investigations and “controlled deliveries” in order to diminish drug trafficking in Southeast European region.

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