Illicit Drugs

22.09.2022 Featured INTERPOL Seizes $717m’s Worth of Illicit Drugs in One Month

Published 22nd Sep, 2022

By Joseph Adeiye

The International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) made 1,333 arrests and seized illicit drugs worth about $717 million along air, land and maritime routes in 22 countries between June and July.

INTERPOL revealed this in a statement released on Thursday.

“An international operation coordinated by INTERPOL has laid bare the vast scale of drug trafficking with the seizure of illicit narcotics and precursor chemicals worth more than USD 717,000,000 and the arrest of 1,333 suspects worldwide,” the statement read in part.

“Operation Lionfish V (23 June – 31 July) targeted the trafficking of illicit drugs along air, land and maritime routes in 22 countries worldwide via a coordinated cross-border approach, with more than 291 tonnes of precursor chemicals and 35.5 tonnes of narcotics seized.

“While traditional drugs like cocaine and cannabis continue to represent a significant share of the illicit drugs market, the operation underscored the rise in the production and sale of synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine, Captagon and ketamine.”

READ ALSO: International Drug Syndicate Keeps ₦193 Billion’s Worth of Cocaine in Lagos Warehouse

INTERPOL’s Operation Lionfish V lasted for five weeks and the authorities recovered 1.8 tonnes of ketamine, 683 kg of methamphetamine, 581 kg of captagon, 20.2 tonnes of cocaine, 11.7 tonnes of cannabis, 158 kg of heroin, 65,100 tablets and 48 kg of tramadol.

The operation also confiscated explosives, firearms, rockets and 9.5 million pseudoephedrine tablets used to manufacture methamphetamine.

“The 1,333 arrests made during the operation include 25 different nationalities, further highlighting how drug trafficking is a global problem which requires a global response,” the statement read.

“Indian authorities made the largest single seizure of heroin during the operation after 75.3 kg of the drug were intercepted in the Port of Mundra. In a statement, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) underlined how the country’s National Central Bureau for INTERPOL coordinated with law enforcement agencies globally for concerted action against drug networks with international linkages, with a view to disrupt, dismantle and degrade illicit drug networks.

“The operation showed that traffickers use various types of transport modes to smuggle their narcotics including containerized maritime cargo, air couriers, postal/express mail services, commercial vehicles, GOFAST vessels and small aircraft.”

READ ALSO: NDLEA Arrests Billionaire ‘Drug Baron’ Linked to Abba Kyari’s ‘N3bn Deal’

INTERPOL said that its criminal networks and drug unit coordinated operational meetings to facilitate the exchange of information via its I-24/7 secure global communications channel between participating countries.

The participating countries are Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Türkiye and the United Arab Emirates.

“Criminal groups operate like a global fortune 500 company. They seek to maximize profits, minimize risk, diversify their holdings and look for emerging markets,” Jürgen Stock, INTERPOL Secretary General, said.

“Operation Lionfish demonstrates what can be achieved in tackling this global threat when member countries work together via INTERPOL to connect and empower police around the world for the safety and security of our citizens.”

In a similar way, agents of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested five persons after busting a major drug warehouse located in Lagos last week.

The authorities found 1,855 kg of illicit drugs worth more than N194 billion, according to the NDLEA. The discovery heightened a suspicion that Nigeria is part of an international drug trafficking network.

Published 22nd Sep, 2022

By Joseph Adeiye


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