Afghanistan cultivates, produces and process narcotics that are a threat to the region and worldwide. However, the international community also needs to understand that Afghanistan itself is a victim of this phenomenon. The existence of hundreds of thousands of problem drug users, as well as decades of civil war, terrorism and instability are all related to the existence of narcotics in the country. According to the findings of this survey, the total area under cultivation was estimated at 154,000 hectares, an 18 per cent increase from the previous year. Comparisons of the gross and net values with Afghan’s licit GDP for 2012 also serve to highlight the opium economy’s impact on the country. In 2012, net opium exports were worth some 10 per cent of licit GDP, while the farmgate value of the opium needed to produce those exports alone was equivalent to 4 per cent of licit GDP. On the basis of shared responsibility and the special session of the United Nation’s General assembly in 1998, the international community needs to take a balanced approach by addressing both the supply and the demand side equally. In addition, more attention needs to be paid to reduce demand and the smuggling of precursors as well as provide further support to the Government of Afghanistan.
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April 13, 2013 in Federal Bureau of Investigation
Recent FBI intelligence from multiple FBI HUMINT sources indicates a shift in Los Zetas recruiting methods and reliance on non-traditional associates. Past, accurate FBI reporting indicated Los Zetas previously focused its recruitment on members with prior specialized training, such as ex-military and ex-law enforcement officers, and not on US-based gangs or US persons in order to maintain a highly-disciplined and structured hierarchy. This hierarchy, which resembled a military-style command and control structure, facilitated drug trafficking operations and maintained lines of authority. However, current FBI reporting indicates that Los Zetas is recruiting and relying on non-traditional, non-military trained associates—US-based prison and street gangs and non-Mexican nationals—to perform drug trafficking and support operations in Mexico and in the United States.
December 16, 2012 in United States
To examine the current money laundering and terrorist financing threats associated with correspondent banking, the Subcommittee selected HSBC as a case study. HSBC is one of the largest financial institutions in the world, with over $2.5 trillion in assets, 89 million customers, 300,000 employees, and 2011 profits of nearly $22 billion. HSBC, whose initials originally stood for Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation, now has operations in over 80 countries, with hundreds of affiliates spanning the globe. Its parent corporation, HSBC Holdings plc, called “HSBC Group,” is headquartered in London, and its Chief Executive Officer is located in Hong Kong.
November 24, 2012 in United Nations
Despite the eradication of opium poppy by Governor-led Eradication (GLE) having increased by 154% in comparison to its 2011 level (9,672 hectares eradicated in 2012), the total area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was estimated at 154,000 hectares (125,000 – 189,000) in 2012. While that represents a 18% increase in cultivation, potential opium production was estimated at 3,700 tons (2,800 – 4,200 tons) in 2012, a 36% decrease from the previous year. This was due to a decrease in opium yield caused by a combination of a disease of the opium poppy and adverse weather conditions, particularly in the Eastern, Western and Southern regions of the country.
September 29, 2012 in United Nations
A United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime research report from October 2011 that “attempts to shed light on the total amounts likely to be laundered across the globe, as well as the potential attractiveness of various locations to those who launder money” and “examine the magnitude of illicit funds generated by drug trafficking and organized crime.”
Despite the continuous counter-narcotics efforts of the international community and the Afghan government throughout the past decade, Agence France-Presse wrote in April 2012 that Afghanistan continues to be a major contributor to the global drug supply. Approximately 90% of the world’s opium, most of which is processed into heroin, originates in Afghan fields. While potential opium production in Afghanistan peaked in 2007, poppy cultivation has recently risen. For instance, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) marked a 61% increase in the potential opium production between 2010 and 2011. A separate UNODC report from 2010 states that drugs and bribes are equivalent to approximately a quarter of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product (GDP).
April 10, 2012 in Federal Bureau of Investigation
The purpose of this assessment is to explore the expansion and influence of US-based gangs abroad and their illicit operations and associations with foreign criminal organizations. For the purpose of this assessment, the term “gang” encompasses both street gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs. In addition to FBI and open source reporting, the following law enforcement agencies from the United States, Canada, Central America, the Netherlands, and United Kingdom were surveyed to obtain data for the assessment.
March 12, 2012 in Featured
The U.S. is investigating allegations that some officials in the Afghan Air Force, which was established largely with American funds, have been using aircraft to ferry narcotics and illegal weapons around the country, American officials told The Wall Street Journal. Two probes of the Afghan Air Force, or AAF, are under way—one led by the U.S. military coalition and another by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, officials said.
February 13, 2012 in Featured
Jeanette Barraza-Galindo conspicuously left her bags of teddy bears and throw pillows on a bus during an inspection at the Texas-Mexico border — and professed ignorance about the $277,556 officers found hidden inside. The bags were handed to her at a bus station, gifts to be given to a child upon her return to Mexico, she told investigators. The crime she pleaded guilty to — bulk cash smuggling — is increasingly drawing the attention and resources of federal authorities responsible for fighting drug trafficking across the border. Federal immigration authorities say their investigations have yielded more cash seizures and arrests in the past half-dozen years as criminals, sidestepping scrutiny from banks over electronic transfers, resort to using cash to conceal drug trafficking and move money to crime rings in Mexico and elsewhere.
January 10, 2012 in News
Mexico’s government allowed a group of undercover U.S. anti-drug agents and their Colombian informant to launder millions in cash for a powerful Mexican drug trafficker and his Colombian cocaine supplier, according to documents made public Monday. The Mexican magazine Emeequis published portions of documents that describe how Drug Enforcement Administration agents, a Colombian trafficker-turned-informant and Mexican federal police officers in 2007 infiltrated the Beltran Leyva drug cartel and a cell of money launderers for Colombia’s Valle del Norte cartel in Mexico.
December 5, 2011 in News
Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds as part of Washington’s expanding role in Mexico’s fight against drug cartels, according to current and former federal law enforcement officials.The agents, primarily with the Drug Enforcement Administration, have handled shipments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal cash across borders, those officials said, to identify how criminal organizations move their money, where they keep their assets and, most important, who their leaders are. They said agents had deposited the drug proceeds in accounts designated by traffickers, or in shell accounts set up by agents.
November 27, 2011 in Featured
Afghanistan’s former anti-drug czar has warned that opium poppy cultivation will dramatically increase as foreign combat troops head home, with farmers and insurgents taking advantage of a withdrawal set to be complete by the end of 2014. Insecurity in poppy growing regions in Afghanistan — the world’s leading producer of opium — and the expectation among insurgents and farmers that the country will be under the full control of Afghan forces within years is driving production, ex-counter-narcotics minister General Khodaidad said. “With the coming exit strategy for 2014, the whole thing will be completely out of control. All the provinces will go more and more back to poppy,” Khodaidad said at his Kabul house.
October 31, 2011 in Department of Justice
The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) assesses with high confidence that in 2009, Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) were operating in the United States in at least 1,286 cities spanning all nine Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) regions, based on law enforcement reporting. Moreover, NDIC assesses with high confidence that Mexican DTOs in at least 143 of these U.S. cities were linked to a specific Mexican Cartel or DTO based in Mexico—the Sinaloa Cartel (at least 75 cities), the Gulf Cartel/Los Zetas (at least 37 cities), the Juárez Cartel (at least 33 cities), the Beltrán-Leyva DTO (at least 30 cities), La Familia Michoacán (at least 27 cities), or the Tijuana Cartel (at least 21 cities). NDIC assesses with high confidence that Mexican DTOs will further expand their drug trafficking operations in the United States in the near term, particularly in the New England, New York/New Jersey, Mid-Atlantic, and Florida/Caribbean Regions. NDIC also believes that Mexican DTOs will maintain the present high level of availability for heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine because the conditions in Mexico and in the United States that enabled and motivated the DTOs to increase production and availability of those drugs have not significantly changed.
October 10, 2011 in California
October 9, 2011 in News
Masked gunmen dump the bodies of 35 murder victims during rush hour as terrified motorists watch and tweet friends to avoid the avenue in a coastal city. A couple of weeks later, 32 more corpses are found nearby in three houses. A woman’s decapitated body is left at a border city’s monument to Columbus, the head atop a computer keyboard with a sign saying she was killed for blogging about drug traffickers. The severed heads of five men are dumped outside an elementary school in Acapulco, and two more near a military base in Mexico City days later. That was just in the past three weeks.
The intent of the Houston HIDTA Threat Assessment, produced by the Houston Intelligence Support Center (HISC), is to identify the potential impact of drug trafficking trends within the Houston HIDTA and to deliver accurate and timely strategic intelligence to assist law enforcement agencies in the development of drug enforcement strategies.
September 21, 2011 in News
Money laundering in Colombia totals $8 billion each year, a sum equivalent to three percent of the country’s gross domestic product, Colombia’s interior minister, German Vargas, said last week. Money laundering is a major problem in the South American nation, with much of it blamed on the country’s drug cartels. Colombian cocaine traffickers are known to set up fake companies and businesses at home and across Latin America, particularly in Panama and Mexico, to launder drug-related cash.
September 6, 2011 in News
A 2010 assessment of pharmaceutical abuse released by the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous provides significant detail about the extent and human toll of prescription medication and “doctor shopping” in Houston and southeast Texas. The bulletin was reported on by major media sources, including the Houston Chronicle, but the report was never released publicly. As far back as 2007, southeast Texas has been referred to as a “mecca” for prescription drug abuse. In October 2007, the Houston Chronicle reported that the amount of Xanax seized by Houston Police had more than quadrupled from the previous year. That same year, narcotics investigators with the Houston Police Department seized 215,946 grams of hydrocodone, an increase of more than twenty-three times from the 9,030 grams seized in all 2005. By 2010, the Houston Chronicle estimated that since 2006 more than 1,300 people had died in Harris County due to the abuse of prescription medication.
(U//LES) Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Overview of Pharmaceutical Abuse and Diversion
The threat of pharmaceutical drug abuse and diversion in the Houston HIDTA has been dangerously high and increasing for the past several years. Drug investigators report that it is becoming more widespread, addicting abusers from middle school to middle age. Perhaps the most concerning threat related to pharmaceutical abuse is the alarmingly high potential for overdose or accidental death from controlled prescription drugs. In Harris County alone, from 2006 through 2008 pharmaceuticals were present in over 66% of the 1533 cases of toxicity-related deaths.1 In 2009, over 78% involved pharmaceuticals. Not only is diversion a deadly problem, it is incredibly profitable. Pain management clinic owners gross an average of $4,000-$5,000 per day at each location. A successful owner running multiple clinics can easily make $75,000 a week from only three operations, getting paid entirely in cash.
September 5, 2011 in Headline
September 3, 2011 in Texas
Over the last few years, it has become more commonplace to see military-type weaponry such as grenades and assault rifles utilized by Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). Increasingly, many of the reported hand grenade seizures in United States are illegal, improvised grenades destined for Mexico and the DTOs. These devices have become a weapon of choice for Mexican DTOs because they are cheap, the components are relatively easy to obtain and manufacture, are easily concealable, and can kill or injure large numbers of people indiscriminately. Reports have indicated that grenade attacks originated mostly in southern Mexico around the beginning of President Felipe Calderon’s presidency in 2006, and have steadily spread northward as the conflicts between rival DTO cartels, and Mexican government’s enforcement efforts have intensified in the northern Mexican Border States.
September 2, 2011 in News
A small but growing proxy war is underway in Mexico pitting US-assisted assassin teams composed of elite Mexican special operations soldiers against the leadership of an emerging cadre of independent drug organizations that are far more ruthless than the old-guard Mexican “cartels” that gave birth to them. These Mexican assassin teams now in the field for at least half a year, sources tell Narco News, are supported by a sophisticated US intelligence network composed of CIA and civilian US military operatives as well as covert special-forces soldiers under Pentagon command — which are helping to identify targets for the Mexican hit teams. Evidence of this intelligence support network has surfaced recently even in mainstream media reports, in outlets such as the New York Times and the Mexican publication El Universal — the former reporting that “CIA operatives and American civilian military employees have been posted at a Mexican military base,” and the latter reporting that elite US and Mexican troops engaged in joint training exercises in Colorado earlier this year.
The intent of this bulletin is to provide Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) with a general knowledge of ambush tactics used by the Tijuana Cartel against Mexican LEOs in Tijuana, Mexico. The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Officer Safety Bulletin dated October 3, 2010, outlining Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations’ (DTOs) and San Diego street gangs’ use of Tijuana Cartel tactics in San Diego County, identified a need for a more comprehensive review of cartel tactics used south of the U.S. border.
In April 2011, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported up to 82 percent of all cocaine seized in the United States contained levamisole, a veterinary drug used to de-worm livestock. Law enforcement and public health officials in the United States are warning of serious public health consequences for drug users related to contaminated cocaine use.