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On April 11, 2022, the Central Asian Regional Information Coordination Center for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Their Precursors, together with the UNODC Regional Assistance Program for Afghanistan and neighboring countries, held a de-briefing in the format of a video conference on the results of the regional operation (RO) "REFLEX-2021" and the preparation of the next regional operation "REFLEX-2022." This event was attended by representatives of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan and Mongolia. Also, for the first time as an observer country, the Republic of Belarus took part. RO "REFLEX-2021" was held on the territory of the above states participating in the operation from October 4 to November 30, 2021 and had the same direction, like the three previous ones ("REFLEX-2017", "REFLEX-2018" and "REFLEX-2019") to combat the spread of new psychoactive substances, psychotropic substances and other synthetic drugs.

The overall coordination of the operation at the regional level was carried out by CARICC, at the national levels - by the national coordinating bodies for combating drug trafficking of the states participating in the operation. The UNODC Regional Program for Afghanistan and neighboring countries provided organizational and financial support to activities related to its implementation.

As a result of REFLEX-2021, the national coordinating and competent authorities of the participating states of the operation seized 6 tons 511 kg 838 g of new psychoactive substances and other synthetic narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

In addition to operational and investigative measures with the prosecution of persons suspected of drug crimes with the seizure of prohibited substances, the states participating in the operation at the national level also carried out a wide range of legislative, organizational, informational, analytical and methodological activities, which will undoubtedly serve to increase the potential of anti-drug structures in the future, the states participating in the operation, in the fight against the spread of new psychoactive substances and other synthetic narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

The online meeting (de-briefing) was opened by the Director of CARICC, Major General of Militia Rustam Aziz Miralizoda, who expressed gratitude to all participants in the regional operation and partners from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and noted the importance of consolidating the joint efforts of the states participating in the operation in the fight against new psychoactive drugs. substances and other synthetic drugs, both in the region and worldwide. The director also noted that through the efforts of the Center, the geography of countries' participating in the REFLEX regional operation is expanding. Last year, Mongolia joined us, this year the Republic of Belarus is ready to participate as an observer country and declared the readiness of the Center to provide all possible support to initiatives in this direction.

During the event, CARICC presented the prepared regional report on the results of the RO "REFLEX-2021" with analysis, conclusions and recommendations for use by the competent authorities of the participating states of the operation in order to further improve the efficiency of work in the fight against NPS. Next, a presentation was presented on the preparation of the RO REFLEX-2022.

The participants of the de-briefing, noting the importance and effectiveness of the ongoing joint work to reduce the drug threat in the region, came to a consensus on the need to continue the regional operation "REFLEX" in the future.

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On April 8, 2022, a meeting was held in Nur-Sultan with the Director of the Central Asian Regional Information Coordination Center for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Their Precursors, Major General of Militia Miralizoda R.A. with the Director of the Department of International Security of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Sarzhanov K.A.

The parties discussed the current state of CARICC activities, the prospects for its further development, as well as the organization of procedures for the rotation of its leadership. Special attention was paid to financial problems, as well as the need to address the issue of transition to self-financing.

The importance of strengthening cooperation in the fight against international drug crime, taking into account the current situation in the world, was noted.

The CARICC Director expressed his gratitude to Kazakhstan for the unwavering support and consistent assistance to the activities of CARICC and expressed his hope for continued dialogue and support in the implementation of the decisions of the CARICC Council of National Coordinators.

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On April 8, 2022, a meeting was held in Nur-Sultan with the Director of the Central Asian Regional Information Coordination Center for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Their Precursors, Major General of Militia Miralizoda R.A. with the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Major General Police Sadenov E.S.

During the meeting, information was provided on the current activities of the Center and future plans for the implementation of its mandate, issues of strengthening practical cooperation in countering the drug business, including the conduct of anti-drug operations, the need to intensify the exchange of information and analytical data, as well as the implementation of decisions of the Council of National Coordinators of CARICC member states were discussed.

The parties exchanged views on the state and development of the drug situation in the region, taking into account the current geopolitical situation in the world.

In conclusion, the parties once again confirmed their interest in continuing regular contacts to address issues of CARICC activities, as well as further detailed discussion of the organization and conduct of anti-drug measures and the development of specific steps in this area.

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On April 4, 2022, a meeting of CARICC employees with representatives of the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) was held via videoconference.

CARICC was represented by the Head of the Information and Analytical Division, Mr. Azizbek Erkaboev, and employees of the Center.

EMCDDA was represented by the Head of the International Cooperation Unit, Mr. Gonçalo Felgueiras e Sousa, and the Head of the Sector, Ms. Cécile Martel. 

Mr. A. Erkaboev briefly informed about the current activities of the Center as one of the large-scale and significant UNODC projects in Central Asia, as well as the information and analytical work of the Center, including its improvement and the prospects for development plans.

In addition, representatives of CARICC showed a presentation on the topic: "The role of CARICC in the fight against drug smuggling, including the identification of clandestine laboratories for the production of drugs."

The meeting participants also discussed a number of current and future issues within the framework of further bilateral cooperation, during which proposals and wishes were expressed.

As a result of the meeting, an agreement was reached on expanding cooperation in terms of mutual exchange of analytical data and materials in the anti-drug field, as well as the possibility of holding training seminars and trainings for CARICC employees, as well as the competent authorities of its member states with the involvement of EMCDDA experts.

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From 29 to 31 March 2022, the Border Management Program in Central Asia (BOMCA) held a regional seminar in Almaty for the heads of investigative units of the border and law enforcement agencies of the countries of Central Asia. The seminar expanded cooperation on the exchange of information between law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation of cross-border crimes.

The workshop analyzed the legal framework and legal powers of institutions involved in the exchange of information, including crime analysis products relating to cross-border crime investigations and the exchange of evidence. Also, the seminar was attended by CARICC staff, who, in accordance with the program of the meeting, made a presentation on the activities of the Center, and also actively participated in the discussions. As a result of the seminar, in order to simplify the exchange of information in the investigation of crimes, amendments were proposed to the relevant legislation of the countries of Central Asia.

Within the framework of the seminar, a study visit was organized to the headquarters of the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Their Precursors (CARICC) in Almaty. The participants of the visit were acquainted with the activities of CARICC and information exchange mechanisms. During the visit, issues of synergy between the activities of the BOMCA 10 program and CARICC were discussed.

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The delegation of CARICC headed by the Director Militia Major General Miralizoda Rustam Aziz took part in a regional meeting on countering clandestine laboratories for the production of synthetic drugs.

The event was attended by representatives of the anti-drug authorities of the Criminal Information Center for Combating Drugs of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC-CIC) member states, Egypt, the US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration, the UK National Crime Agency, international organizations (UNODC, INCB , Law Enforcement Center for South-East Europe - SELEC).

At the opening of the event, the Director of the GCC-CIC, the head of the police of Dubai and the UNODC Regional Representative for the Gulf countries made their welcoming speeches. The speakers noted the threat of the spread of synthetic drugs in the Persian Gulf region against the backdrop of a rapidly changing situation after the easing of covid restrictions. It was noted that organized criminal groups involved in drug trafficking are changing the direction of their criminal activities by creating a drug laboratory on the territory of countries.

As part of the event, the CARICC Director held bilateral meetings with the heads of delegations of UNODC, Saudi Arabia, GCC-CIC, and the SELEC Center on enhancing cooperation against the backdrop of a rapidly changing drug situation and an increase in seizures of hard drugs in the Persian Gulf and Central Asia regions.

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On the 15th of March within the framework of the 65th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), which is being held in a mixed format from March 14 to 18, 2022 at the Vienna International Center, CARICC organized and held an online side-event on the topic “CARICC’s role in combating drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and related terrorism at the regional and interregional levels, with a special focus on the "Northern Route".

The event was opened by the Director of CARICC Major General of Militia Miralizoda R.A. In his speech, he emphasized that the Center continues to be a fully functioning organization, fulfilling the tasks assigned to it and playing a crucial role in supporting the CARICC member states and partners in effectively countering transnational organized drug crime.

In a welcoming video message from the Head of the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia, Ms. Ashita Mittal, the importance of mutual practical cooperation in the fight against organized crime and drug trafficking, as well as the leading role of CARICC in the region in coordinating the efforts of the participating states on the anti-drug agenda, was highlighted.

In the main session of the side event, a video was shown with a brief information about the activities of CARICC and a presentation revealing the potential of the Center to assist in the fight against drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and related terrorism at the regional and interregional levels, with a special focus on the "Northern Route".

The meeting was attended by liaison officers of the national coordinating bodies of the CARICC member states and from observer states, as well as delegations from 24 countries. The event was attended online by high-ranking officials of law enforcement agencies and international organizations - UNODC, OSCE, CSTO, RATS SCO, CIS ATC, the EAG Secretariat and other partners of the Center. More than 100 people took part in the side event.

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On March 15, 2022, in Almaty, a meeting of the CARICC delegation headed by the Director Major General of Militia Miralizoda Rustam Aziz with the delegation of the Regional Office for Capacity Building of the World Customs Organization headed by the Director Eser Chengel took place.

At the meeting, the parties discussed issues on the further development of cooperation in the anti-drug sphere as part of the implementation of the protocol on establishing cooperation for institutional development between CARICC and the Regional Office for Capacity Building of the World Customs Organization, signed in November 2021 during the working visit of the Center's delegation to Baku.

The head of the Regional Office for Capacity Building Mr. Eser Chengel, highly appreciated the activities of CARICC, whose specialists took part in the online webinar "International drug trafficking: Distribution area, current transportation channels", organized on March 3, 2022.

The meeting participants agreed to make wider use of the CARICC platform as an international organization providing a platform for cooperation with international and regional organizations in order to achieve common goals and objectives.

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