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On June 26, the entire world community celebrates a significant event - International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

This day was proclaimed on December 7, 1987 by the UN General Assembly as a sign of its determination to strengthen activities and cooperation to create a world society free from drug abuse. The decision was taken on the basis of the International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking recommendation, which adopted a comprehensive multidisciplinary action plan to combat drug abuse.

Drug addiction and related crime has affected all countries of the world. According to the roughest estimates of experts, from 3 to 4 percent of the world's inhabitants use drugs. These are mainly young people aged 18 to 30, every fifth of them is a woman. Considering that about 5-10% of the total number of really existing drug addicts are registered in drug treatment institutions, it is with great concern that one can imagine the underwater part of this iceberg!

Unfortunately, the situation with the distribution of drugs in the world continues to deteriorate. The schemes of their production and sale, transport and financial networks of drug trafficking are improving, the speed and scale are constantly growing. The structure of drug consumption is also changing - new synthetic drugs appear, their formulas are constantly being updated. National laws often fail to respond to these changes.

Therefore, the problem of drug addiction is a global threat to the health of the world's population. After all, this is not only the tragedy of an individual or a family. This is also one of the reasons for the demographic crisis, the birth of sick children, the decline in the general health of the nation, as well as the increase in the crime rate around the world.

The global quarantine due to the coronavirus has disrupted the drug trade, however, temporary relief is fraught with problems in the near future, when the drug traffic recovers.

“The current crisis will potentially worsen the situation of vulnerable groups. People will increasingly take illegal work to compensate for the loss of legitimate income. introduced by the authorities to combat COVID-19 will inevitably affect all aspects of drug trafficking. "

In many countries in all parts of the world, the UN has noted a shortage of entire classes of drugs, rising prices, declining quality and the transition of consumers to synthetic drugs or substitution therapy.

In the short term, instability in the drug market could lead to an increase in dangerous drug use and new strategies for drug trafficking groups to overcome the obstacles that have arisen. Drug users are expected to increasingly use the darknet to overcome the effects of personal control, and mail-order drug delivery is expected to become even more popular. Web and dark net markets, social media and secure encrypted communication applications will play a more prominent role in drug users' search for drugs. For individual transactions, home delivery will be popularized, the number of personal transactions and dependence on cash as a form of payment will decrease significantly, and it is possible that such behavioral changes will persist for a long period of time. It is quite obvious that all the innovations of the drug mafia will remain, because they are much more convenient for doing business.

No one can say with certainty about the end of the coronavirus pandemic. And therefore, in the fight against drug addiction and drug trafficking, we must be prepared for the following development of events:

- with the opening of state borders, drug traffic is likely to increase;

- the main channel for the sale of drugs will remain the darknet, which will tend to increase;

- due to the growth of unemployment and lack of opportunities, the chances of poor and disadvantaged people will increase who will turn to illegal activities related to the production or transportation of drugs, thereby increasing the number of drug addicts in the world;

Unfortunately, it is impossible to liquidate the drug mafia. But it is possible to restrict her activities. What should we react to and how? The operational environment of the so-called "new normalcy", although full of challenges for law enforcement agencies, provides an opportunity to intensify investigations of dangerous organized crimes. The task of all law enforcement agencies is not to reduce the activity in the development of high-risk organized crime groups and their leaders, who are engaged in large-scale production and trafficking of drugs.

The Central Asian Regional Information Coordination Center for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Their Precursors (hereinafter - CARICC / Center), as a specialized international organization, exercises its powers to the extent that the Center was endowed with them by the participating States in the statutory documents gives this opportunity.

Since the establishment of CARICC, as an interstate body for coordinating the efforts of the competent authorities of the participating States in combating transnational drug-related crime, it will be 14 years. During this period, a lot has been done within the framework of its mandate, but more remains to be done.

The format of CARICC's international activities is very wide. The Center is a permanent organizer, coordinator and participant of such operations as "Reflex", "Substitution", "Channel" and "Web". The coordination headquarters of which are being created on the basis of CARICC.

The use of its own and international information resources enables the Center to be an effective instrument of inter-network cooperation in the international fight against drugs. For the collection, processing and analysis of information in the field of illegal drug trafficking, CARICC has created a Centralized Data Bank, which currently has more than 100 thousand objects.

The center carries out a strategic and operational analysis of the drug situation in the region, conducts a number of studies, prepares and distributes regular analytical products. The total number of published bulletins, overviews and newsletters has already exceeded 1000 issues. The number of addressees receiving them is also increasing.

Various events are held at the Center's sites, bilateral and multilateral meetings are held to exchange information and coordinate joint operational investigative actions between the CARICC member states and the Center's partners.

Also, the activation of interaction is facilitated by the annual working meetings of the liaison officers of the CARICC member states, observer states and partners of the Center.

CARICC - as an international organization, together with the UNODC, other international organizations and partners, as well as the competent authorities of the participating States and law enforcement agencies of other countries will continue to intensify offensive activities on drug addiction and drug trafficking - a regional and global threat. The future of the whole world and mankind depends on this.

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The Islamic Republic of Iran applied to the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors for observer status at CARICC in August 2019.

The Centre carried out all necessary procedures to coordinate this matter with competent authorities of CARICC Member States that supported official application of the Islamic Republic of Iran for observer status.

In accordance with Regulation on CARICC, decision on granting observer status is taken by the Council of National Coordinators of Member States after Director of the Centre presents an application for consideration.

A regular meeting of the Council of National Coordinators of CARICC Member States took place on 27 November 2020 via videoconference, which reviewed official application of the Islamic Republic of Iran to obtain observer state status at the Centre.

The meeting resulted in a Decision on granting observer status at the Centre to the Islamic Republic of Iran in accordance with paragraph 30 of Chapter 5 of the Regulation on CARICC.

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According to Regulations on Service in the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors (CARICC), all CARICC staff members are selected for work on a competitive basis and appointed to their positions only after being reviewed by the Selection Panel. (Section II, Chapter 1, Article 5)

Selection of employees for CARICC is aimed at providing it with highly qualified personnel with high professional level, efficiency and reliability, as well as with the highest standards of morality and ethics.

Moreover, the principle of equal representation of citizens of CARICC Member States is taken into account when selecting employees, along with consideration of personal qualifications and professional skills. (Section II, Chapter 3, Article 22)

As a rule, when announcing a vacancy for a position, several most promising candidates are selected from a multitude of applications submitted for consideration and invited to an interview to the Selection Panel and then are to be tested using special equipment (psychophysiological study).

However, due to restrictions associated with the pandemic of COVID-19 coronavirus infection this year, candidates could not arrive in the Republic of Kazakhstan to undergo a competitive selection process. Therefore, in agreement with the Head of the UNODC Programme Office in the Republic of Kazakhstan, CARICC Director and members of the Selection Panel decided to organize a selection via videoconference.

Lists of candidates were generated based solely on their professional suitability, achievements and merits. In total, 13 vacancies were reviewed, including 2 vacancies for heads of units of the Centre.

It should be noted that this event was well organized. This is a completely new format, but despite this, there were no failures in competitive selection. In accordance with developed schedule, members of the Selection Panel conducted interviews with candidates during three weeks in October. At the end of October all candidates for vacant positions were determined. Composition of officials is represented by maximum possible number of CARICC Member States - employees of competent authorities of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

It is expected that new staff members will assume their duties from the beginning of 2021, after sending relevant NVs from CARICC and following approval by authorities of the countries sending their representatives to CARICC.

Initial contract with selected employees is signed for two years with a six-month trial period. Subsequently, the contract may be extended by CARICC Director in agreement with the sending country for one year, but not more than twice in a row (taking into account initial contract, the total period of service is not more than four years).

We are hopeful that a new page in the history of the Centre will be full of exciting prospects, work will be fruitful, and all planned actions will be implemented.

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Unofficial translation

Three long-term anti-drug operations “Substitution”, “Reflex” and “Lion Fish” were carried out in 2018 as part of the implementation of the CARICC mandate to assist in organizing, conducting and coordinating concerted joint international operations to combat drug trafficking.
Under operation “Substitution” in March 2018, its active Phase-2 was carried out under coordination of the UNODC Regional Office in Central Asia (Tashkent). The Centre house headquarters for coordinating operations in 5 Central Asian states. A report was presented according to results of the operation in July 2018 in Bishkek.
Results of the regional operation “Reflex-2018” indicate an increase in the number of NPS seizures in CARICC member states compared to 2017.

CARICC took part in the Interpol “Lion-Fish” global operation conducted in September-October 2018. The Centre served as a regional coordination headquarters for the CARICC State Parties. During the operation participants seized a total of more than 55 tons of drugs.
CARICC provided assistance in 10 short-term anti-drug operations in 2018, of which 6 were successfully implemented. At the same time, about 246.5 kg of drugs of Afghan origin were seized, including: 84 kg of heroin, 73 kg of opium, 89.5 kg of hashish, 10 suspects of involvement in illicit trafficking, including 1 citizen of the Republic of Tajikistan, 2 - the Russian Federation, 2 - the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and 5 citizens of the Republic of Turkey.
Extensive work was carried in preparation for organization of a regular training controlled supply of Afghan drugs from Central Asia a country of Western Europe.
Following results are available on the information and analytical work of CARICC.
A concept on the CARICC methodology for assessing drug situation in its participating States was developed and agreed on by the CARICC member states.

16 information and analytical bulletins were prepared on various aspects of combating illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors, disruption of economic foundations of drug-related crime, drug trafficking schemes via the Internet, and opium production in Afghanistan.
Based on the study of experience of competent authorities of Afghanistan, China and Iran, recommendations have been developed in the field of countering clandestine drug labs.
A comparative analysis of data for 2017 opposed to 2016 provided by the Counter Narcotics Police of the Ministry of Interior Affairs of Afghanistan was conducted in order to determine trends in production and seizure of opiates in Afghanistan.
An analysis of information on cases of interdiction of drug supplies along the Balkan and southern Afghan opiate traffic route was conducted to determine factors indicating a possible reorientation of Afghan drug supply channels.
With the financial support of the UNODC Border Interaction Component, a printed edition of the Methodological Guidebook on the Use of Database in Working with the IBM i2 Analytical Software was released.

In April 2018, a CARICC Regional Program on Systemic Fight Against Organized Drug Crime by Weakening its Financial Resources was launched at a working meeting of representatives of national coordinating bodies and financial intelligence units of CARICC participating states with attendance of EAG experts and the European Union.
An international conference on countering transnational drug crime was organized in March 2018 at the CARICC as part of the UNODC initiative on inter-network cooperation. During it, the Centre presented recommendations on informal operational procedures for interaction between international and regional focal points and other related organizations.
In October 2018, a regular working meeting with liaison officers of observer states and representatives of CARICC member states was organized at CARICC. Following the meeting, an agreement was reached on provision of list of banned amphetamine-type stimulants and NPS from observer states, as well as results of forensic chemical examinations of synthetic drugs for subsequent inclusion in a database created by the Centre.
In terms of operational analysis in 2018, 22 requests were received from competent authorities of CARICC member states, observer states and CARICC partners. The Centre proactively prepared 127 requests, for which 35 responses were received.
In the reporting period, the DIR “Subscriber” was established to organize check of telephone numbers, information on which was provided by a number of competent organizations of observer states at CARICC.
In cooperation with the National Security Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the United States DEA, the Centre analyzed data provided on transit crossing of the state border of the Republic of Kazakhstan by citizens of Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine and Estonia in 2015-2018. This analysis aroused great interest among the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan to existing analytical capacity of the Centre.
No failures were reported in the work with the Centralized Data Base (CDB) of CARICC during the reporting period. In 2018, 10,859 objects were created in the CDB, of which 1759 cases related to drug-related crimes by competent authorities, and information from open sources - 3870 objects. In general, during the reporting period, the amount of information introduced into the CARICC CSB increased by 18%, exceeding 70 thousand information objects.
Information on 1058 people was entered into the database of the CARICC official website for wanted persons, 93 of them - by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan, 880 - the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia and 85 - DEA USA. in relation to 2,391 persons wanted (according to information provided by the Republic of Azerbaijan - 4; Republic of Kazakhstan - 65; Kyrgyz Republic - 121; Russia - 880; Republic of Tajikistan - 354; Turkmenistan - 2; Republic of Uzbekistan - 80; USA DEA - 873; UK NCA - 12).
As part of implementation of a set of measures to create an information and communication system for CARICC, working meetings were held with officers of the DPN of the MIA of RK, and existing architecture of information system of the Centre and the DPN of the MIA of RK were discussed, as well as technical task of the project, analysis and evaluation of technical capabilities for compatibility and identity of communication systems.
In order to consolidate efforts of international and regional organizations in the region and minimize costs of activities, a virtual hub on information exchange on planned activities was created at CARICC, which is available at http://events.caricc.org.
An autonomous electronic database on revealed methods of concealing drugs has been created. It contains information on drug concealment, accompanied by photos, in the amount of 324 entries.
In order to modernize and expand technical capabilities of the official website of CARICC, general information layout of CARICC was implemented on a test platform on a new platform, and a “closed part” of the website was created that would restrict access to certain content to unauthorized users.
148 information messages and articles on the subject of the fight against drugs were posted in mass media and on the website of the Centre.
In 2018, registration was made and the CARICC page was created in the social network “Twitter”. As of December 31, 2018 the number of subscribers is 20 people, 98 tweets are published. On the social page of the Centre on Facebook, 150 informational messages were published, the number of subscribers is 351 users.
In the area of improving regulatory framework of CARICC, in 2018, three meetings of a working group of experts from CARICC member states were organized:
- July 30-31 - on a draft Agreement between the CARICC member states on the exchange and protection of secret information;
- August 1 - on draft CARICC Budget Rules;
- September 18 - on a draft new version of Regulations on Service in CARICC.
Materials of the meetings of working group of experts were sent to State Parties for further coordination of drafts.
Another work aimed at improving regulatory legal framework of CARICC was preparation and implementation of regulatory documents in pursuance of UNODC recommendations.
According to the CARICC director’s order No. 34 of November 26, 2018, the Strategy for Sustainability of CARICC was approved, in which risk management methodology consisting of step-by-step processes is set out in separate sections: 1. identification of risks and their description; 2. risk analysis; 3. identification of risk response actions; 4. monitoring implementation of risk response measures; 5. monitoring effectiveness of risk response actions; 6. risk management adjustments, risk checklist and action plan for responding to risks and ensuring sustainability of CARICC.
In the area of consolidating standard operating procedures following were approved:
- Procurement Guidelines at CARICC (CARICC director’s order of No. 4 of February 2, 2018), according to which 21 meetings of the Procurement Commission were held in 2018;
- CARICC Administrative rules (CARICC director’s order No. 19 of August 9, 2018), defining procedure for compensation of official and travel expenses;
- Instructions on use of official vehicles (CARICC director’s order No. 9 of February 22, 2018).
One meeting of the Council of National Coordinators (CNC) of CARICC State Parties was held in 2018.
CNC by its decision of September 20:
- granted observer status at CARICC to the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Criminal Intelligence Center to Combat Drugs (GCC-CICCD); and authorized head of CARICC to sign the Memorandum of Understanding between CARICC and GCC-CICCD;
- instructed CARICC to send a draft Agreement on cooperation in the fight against transnational drug crime between SELEC and CARICC for additional negotiation to CARICC member states;
- decided to hold additional meetings of EWG to review and prepare draft Agreements between CARICC member states on the exchange and protection of secret information, the CARICC Budget Rules and a new revision of Regulations on Service in CARICC for submission to the CNC;
- established an interim committee to review materials of candidates for vacancies of deputy director of CARICC, to conduct interviews with them and provide a report to the CNC;
- instructed the CARICC, in cooperation with foreign affairs agencies of the State Parties and the UNODC, to consider the letter from the NCDC under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan No. 05-828 of September 8, 2018, and provide an opinion on:
- admissibility of reference in clause 5 to clause 17 of the Regulations on CARICC;
- possible technical error.
Corresponding NVs and letters on decision of CNC-14 were sent to the State Parties.
Questions about consideration of request of Afghanistan to join the Agreement on the Establishment of CARICC, procedure for Turkey’s accession to this Agreement were removed from the agenda at an expert meeting on the preparation of meeting of the CNC in connection with a position of the Tajikistan side. The question of approving a financial controller for CARICC was removed from the agenda of the meeting of the CPC in connection with the position of the Kazakhstan side.
In the area of international cooperation, procedure for coordination of the CARICC Memorandum of Cooperation with Member States of the Joint Planning Cell (JPC) of the Triangular Initiative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been completed.
The Gulf Cooperation Council’s Criminal Information Center to Combat Drugs was granted observer status at CARICC.
Concerning Turkey’s request to join the Agreement on the Establishment of CARICC, a consensus has been reached among the CARICC member states. The accession procedure is agreed with all states except Tajikistan.
As a result of active measures taken by CARICC, including during an April visit of CARICC director to Afghanistan, in early June CARICC received an NV from the IRA Embassy to the Republic of Kazakhstan to consider membership of Afghanistan at CARICC with an NV from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan on support by the Kazakh side of this request. By the meeting of the CNC on September 20, all states except RT supported the request of Afghanistan.
A draft Agreement on cooperation in the fight against transnational drug-related crime between SELEC and CARICC has been coordinated with the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Tajikistan. The Russian Federation provided suggestions and comments regarding reformatting the draft Agreement into an international non-contractual act, excluding from its text legally binding provisions as well as language inherent in international treaties. Answers from Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan were not received.
With regards to financial and logistical support, a number of tasks were carried out for the first time in 10 years of the existence of CARICC, namely:
- renovation of the roof above the conference hall and facade of the building with the installation of an electrical heating system for the storm and sediment sewerage of the roof of the building;
- replacement of official vehicles;
- equipment of premises in accordance with requirements of organization of secret office work;
- maintenance of fire alarm systems and purchase and refilling of carbon dioxide and powder fire extinguishers;
- preventive testing of electrical equipment and electrical installations of the building.



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One of the tasks that member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which unites Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, set for itself, is to conduct special operations to combat transnational drug crime.
To organize an effective opposition to this drug threat, it is necessary to more deeply uncover its causal relationships.
We have to admit that it was precisely the instability and armed confrontation of the last years that created in distressful Afghanistan ideal conditions for an unprecedented scale of drug production.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in 2016-2017 alone, global opium production increased by 65% and amounted to 10,500 tons. Of this volume, the “lion’s share” of opioid products (9,000 tons) was registered in Afghan provinces.
At the same time, 99% of all opium poppy is cultivated in precisely those areas where the vast majority of clashes occur. Thus, the conclusion is obvious that the main cause of global Afghan drug production is the ongoing geopolitical tensions in Afghanistan caused by growing rejection from the population, especially Pashtun tribes, the presence of more than 100 thousand foreign troops in this long-suffering country, inevitably giving rise to many hotbeds of resistance and military microconflicts.
The perennial confrontation makes it impossible for the population to survive on traditional agricultural production, forcing peasants to grow unpretentious opium poppy demanded by international criminal groups. That is why Russian and foreign analysts agree that eradication of the drug economy in Afghanistan is possible only when main part of peasants switch to cultivating useful crops, which, unlike the opium poppy, imperatively requires a peaceful life as a condition for more expensive and time-consuming labor, functioning irrigation systems, developed infrastructure and systems for processing, storage, transportation and sales of products, i.e. ultimately ending armed confrontation.11

Despite a slight reduction in drug production in Afghanistan in 2018 caused by drought, there are enormous stocks of opiates produced in previous years in its territory.
Smuggling of opiates from Afghanistan to countries of the Central Asia, Russia, Western Europe, the USA and Canada along the so-called “northern route” has acquired a wide and stable nature. This undermines demographic potential, delays resources to counter drug crime, treat, rehabilitate and re-socialize people who allow non-medical drug use. According to expert estimates, around 25-30% of Afghan opiates are distributed to drug users through this channel.

In addition, organizers of drug trafficking are increasing drug smuggling along the Caucasian-Black Sea branch of the “Balkan route”, which also directly affects the anti-drug security of the CSTO states.
Actualization of anti-drug measures of states parties to the Collective Security Treaty began from the moment this document was signed in 1992. Even then, the CSTO states agreed that the Afghan drug threat has a pronounced regional character. However, a real breakthrough in the field of practical fight against illicit drug trafficking within the CSTO occurred only ten years later, when a package of relevant decisions was adopted at the session of the Collective Security Council (CSC) held on April 28, 2003 in Dushanbe.

The Organization was tasked with strengthening foreign policy integration and expanding areas of counteraction against international terrorism, extremism, organized transnational crime, illegal migration and drug business. The Council made a separate decision on coordination of activities in the anti-drug sector, in accordance with which an Action Plan was developed to combat external drug threat.
Under this plan, a comprehensive operational and preventive operation under the code name “Channel-2003” was carried out for the first time in 2003, aimed at identifying and blocking routes of illegal drug trafficking in the regions directly adjacent to Afghanistan. An international coordination headquarters was established to guide and manage the operation, consisting of representatives of competent authorities of the six CSTO states, national and regional interdepartmental headquarters, operational groups of relevant ministries and departments of the CSTO member states. Competent agencies of Iran, China, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Turkmenistan were also informed about preparation of the operation, its main tasks, ways of solving them and timing of the operation.

The effectiveness of the operation carried out in 2003 was recognized as successful, and the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board subsequently recognized it as the largest and most effective in countering Afghan drug trafficking.
Considering effectiveness of annual coordinated activities of the CSTO member states, other countries expressed their readiness to join the “Channel” operation. Including observers from Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Bolivia, Venezuela, Iran, Spain, Italy, China, Colombia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Poland, Peru, Romania, USA, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Finland, Estonia as well as representatives of Interpol, the OSCE and the Eurasian Group on combating money laundering (EAG).
Having regard to the obvious progress that accompanied the conduct of the “Channel”, this annual operation was given a status of a permanent CSTO regional anti-drug operation (decision of the Heads of the CSTO member states of September 5, 2008).
In total, from 2003 to the present, 28 stages of Operation “Channel” have been conducted. As a result of these activities, law enforcement agencies of the CSTO member states and observers seized 373 tons of narcotic drugs, psychotropic and potent substances, including 16.5 tons of heroin, 55.5 tons of hashish and 6.5 tons of synthetic drugs.

The fact that the Channel every year becomes an increasingly effective tool in combating drug epidemics in entire regions of Eurasia is shown by the results of a regular stage of the international special anti-drug operation “Channel Red Barkhan”, which took place from September 10 to September 14 year on the territory of Kazakhstan. Its planning was carried out on the basis of results of preparatory phase, during which an analysis of operational situation was conducted, a set of operational search measures were developed aimed at identifying and blocking channels for smuggling of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, in particular, through the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and exchange of necessary information between interacting authorities was also conducted.
During the operation, special measures were taken to identify habitats of wild-growing drug-containing plants, including “Indian cannabis”.
As a result of coordinated actions of law enforcement bodies of the participating countries, more than 11 tons 132 kg of drugs were seized, of which 6 tons 533 kg of opium, 930 kg of hashish, 1 ton 137 kg of marijuana, 88 kg of heroin, 144 kg of synthetic drugs, 2 tons 262 kg of other species, including 1 ton 663 kg of morphine and more than 33 kg of psychotropic and potent substances.

Representatives of law enforcement agencies of Iran and China as well as representatives of international organizations such as the OSCE, EAG, UNODC, Interpol, the Central Asian Regional Information Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors (CARICC), Central Asia Drug Action Programme (CADAP) took part in the operation “Channel Red Barkhan” as observers.
All this demonstrates broad international recognition of the effectiveness of the CSTO efforts in countering global threat of drugs and indicates high professionalism of structures and special services of the states constantly tackling this most serious challenge to their national security.
Protection must be collective
The most important document designed to create prerequisites for transferring cooperation of the CSTO member states in the anti-drug sphere to a new stage of development was the CSTO Anti-Terrorism Strategy for 2015-2020 approved by the CSTO on December 14, 2014. This document has incorporated all positive experience accumulated on the anti-terrorist track. With its main goal, the Strategy outlines a set of measures aimed at a drastic reduction by 2020 of the scale of illicit drug trafficking as well as their non-medical consumption.
It is planned to achieve this goal by stemming illegal production and trafficking of drugs, by curtailing cultivation of drug-containing plants and their production in Afghanistan, and also by strengthening border regime, undermining economic foundations of drug-related crime, by combating trafficking of new types of drugs, and uncontrolled psychoactive drugs.
CSTO member states are planning further development of multilateral cooperation in through the “Channel” operation and other anti-drug activities of departments and services, internal troops and internal affairs bodies allocated to the Special Forces KSOR CSTO formations.
A key element of the Strategy implementation mechanism is concerted approaches of the CSTO member states in countering drug crime at leading international platforms, including the UN and the OSCE, as well as activities of the Coordinating Council of the CSTO Competent Authorities for Combating Illicit Drug Trafficking (KSOPN).
The CSTO anti-drug strategy was the first regulatory legal act of its kind adopted in by an international regional organization. After the CSTO in 2018, a similar document was adopted by the SCO, participants of which are no less concerned about the drug threat emanating from Afghanistan and turned into a serious security challenge throughout the Eurasian space. Combining efforts of these two organizations will allow Eurasia to ensure a systematic comprehensive approach to improving architecture of international security undermined by destructive global drug trafficking and to create a powerful barrier to transnational drug crime.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018 10:18

Pyrenean break

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From time to time, the “Modus Operandi” of security forces is replenished with new arsenal, and drug traffickers then have troubles. In the late 1980s, I remember, over the years, operatives who did not change their “course of action” adopted from advanced Western colleagues and secured “Controlled Purchases” by law.
Before that, police could surveil distributors as much as they could, identify their connections, caches, etc., but when it came to buying drugs, which allowed checking its purity, show money and, by doing so, push deeper into trust - STOP! The law did not allow us to do this. It was necessary to "take" the seller, even with a minimum dose. Or let go. This was used by criminals and, checking, they often brought fake or insignificant quantity of prohibited substance to the meeting - barely enough for forensic examination.
Over the years, criminals have become accustomed to such an algorithm of investigators. And when it came to controlled purchases that allowed buying small quantities of drugs “to try”, the stereotype worked: “since money is paid, it means that it is not cops.” Effectiveness of raids soared tremendously! But not for long – crime soon learned to conduct its "counter-intelligence activities".
Apart from that, “controlled deliveries” secured by a UN Convention proved to be well recommended, when a drug trafficker is allowed to cross a state border, get to the main recipient and thus reveal the entire criminal chain.
So, it is in the "who is smarter" mode that police operational services worked for many years.
Today, many unique methods have appeared on their arsenal, increasing efficiency by several times. One of the most productive, in my opinion, is the study and analysis of risk profile used in tracking large trucking companies, sea containers, railway and air cargo.
I will not disclose the method itself here for obvious reasons. And not only did it turn out to be the “golden key”. In an operation, the results of which I want to share, whole arsenal of police forces and equipment was involved, operatives of several countries worked together to solve the case.
... For some time interests of Moroccan hashish distributors and Belgian drug cartels supplying synthetic materials to the black market have come together in the Pyrenees. Traffic volumes, methods of transportation and strictest conspiracy of the drug business was astonishing! Anasha was delivered from North Africa into Europe on small boats via Gibraltar.
This route was previously well known to border guards and customs. But usually smugglers preferred to work alone, not uniting in gangs. Doing the will of the contractor, most often remaining incognito even if they were caught, “drug captains” acted at their own peril and risk.
But this time it was different. Number of smuggler was massive and they were organized. Under the cover of night or in fog, dozens of motorboats not controlled by radars went out into the sea, each having a personal route, unloading point was determined with trucks waiting for consignment. Product was instantly overloaded and immediately went deep into the continent. It is clear that all operations were ordered, coordinated and controlled from one center. The final destination of the potion delivery was Russia...
Thus, with participation of colleagues from several countries, the operation “Pyrenean break” that lasted for long nine years began.
At the beginning, using risk profile analysis, we determined means of drugs transportation. Gradually, we found out that each batch was sent to Russia on 10-15 cars filled with briquettes with hashish mixed with synthetic drug. Such a "brick" weighed from thirty to one hundred and fifty kilograms. Each consignment contained tons of deadly cargo.
Ingenious caches ... In the process of equipping them, not only car trims were filmed. Body elements, technological cavities were opened, gas tanks were altered. The shipment became almost invisible and intangible: when it was treated with chemicals specially developed for drug cartel, it became inaccessible to service dogs. Only thorough, layered, inch by inch, X-ray...
As if in mockery, narcotic cargo was packed in bright marking materials with the emblems "Porsche", "Audi", and Euro. Controlled deliveries made it possible to track routes, transshipment points, identify specific individuals involved in drug trafficking, and establish operational surveillance of them.
The apotheosis of the operation was the seizure of five tons of Moroccan hashish and a particularly large load of Belgian synthetics, as well as weapons and ammunition. Following this joint group of police from Spain, Moldova, Belarus, Russia and other countries arrested throughout Europe and in the Russian open spaces already well known to the investigation ... 45 heads of the syndicate.
Behind the bars are the so-called “thieves in law” Mikka, Patron, Turk, criminal authorities Tsyn, Lika ... And on October 1, 2017, the drug cartel was finally beheaded: at the suggestion of Russians, Moldovan special forces in Chisinau disarmed “Parteigenosse Borman”, who is also known as Oleg Prutyanu in more than twenty criminal cases.
The leader is clearly facing life sentence...

Alexander Zelichenko,
Bishkek, December 2018

Friday, 27 April 2018 10:37

Afghanistan: new drug disaster...

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Afghan security officials are sounding the alarm. In addition to traditional poppy fields and heroin, the country is rapidly being drawn into the production of synthetic drugs - methamphetamines ("meth"), in no way connected with opium.  if the first case of their seizure (0, 004 kg) was recorded in 2008, then in 2012 there were already 99 such cases (2, 675 kg), in 2016 - 196 (almost 55 kg), in the past 2017, 458 such facts were revealed and more than 216 kg of potion were confiscated. Statistics, other reliable information, for example, recently introduced intravenous “meth” use among injecting drug users, “purely Afghan” technologies for the production of stimulants and new psychoactive substances indicate a further aggravation of the drug situation in this unfortunate country.
The situation, in general, was easily predicted: the country that had been fighting for 40 years soon and turned into an international drug nursery was simply doomed to a new round of narconomics and drug expansion. The absence of firm power, transformation of drugs into the main source of income for terrorists, and geopolitics, finally, are not only accompanying, but also factors that specifically determined this course of events..
In 1979-89, cannabis products from the country were exported in coffins, with a "load of 200". Then the opium poppy bloomed here, soon the drug business reoriented to heroin, and now, a new round - amphetamine-type stimulants and psychoactive substances. And the precursors necessary for their production, obviously, go through the same channels through which they were supplied for heroin laboratories.

How does this threaten Kyrgyzstan?

Spices and other new psychoactive substances, along with methamphetamines, are becoming more and more popular in the global black drug markets. And our country, unfortunately, is no exception. It is sufficient to recall their large seizures, at least only this year: a dron-protected laboratory, from where “new” drugs were distributed under classical schemes, and money was laundered through offshore companies and banks from third countries. Night Club 312. February seizure of 20 kg spikes in Orto-Sai. Special services operation, which allowed to neutralize an international drug group, - details are still classified...
Afghanistan, with its highly developed narcostructure and narco-economy will be able to produce tons of new types of drugs, constantly improving this process. In the early 1990s, opium expansion began in the same way, then heroin. I remember first seizures: 5 kg, 15, in a week - already 50, and further, like a snowball.
I think that a new “drug producer” did not appear in Afghanistan, and the production of “meth”, spice, etc., is being carried out by the same classic drug-mafia that has risen on opium and heroin. Which for many years believed in their impunity. So, at least at the beginning of the change in the drug price, the former drug infrastructure will be used, the same ways and methods of supply, etc.
It turns out that the new “chemicals” will go to black markets of Russia along the so-called “Northern Route” - through Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. Mainly, old proven ones, including drug channels implicated in corruption, will be used, and short-term border clashes are not excluded.
A certain part of drug smuggling will settle in our country. In this regard, I would like to highlight 3 main points related to this situation to our security forces:

  1. It is necessary urgently, “in the marching order”, to start training personnel, first of all, of the Service for Combating Illicit Drug Trafficking (SBNON), traffic police, border guards and customs officers on methods of concealment and camouflaging small-scale drug trafficking consignments. This includes training of service dogs, mainly focused on detection of opiates and cannabis products.
  2. In addition to the main Osh-Bishkek highway, along which the main drug traffic flowed before, one should pay attention to an alternative road passing through the Naryn and Issyk-Kul regions. Its construction is almost complete, it is urgent to create and equip inspection posts, checkpoints. To stop the drug smuggling along an alternative route, it is necessary to immediately select and train specialists - today, for example, only 2-3 officers of the SBNON are serving in the Naryn region.

Perhaps, in this regard, we should recall the experience of creating mobile task forces, which include representatives of SBNON, customs, border guards, a specially trained four-legged member of such a mixed crew. And it doesn’t matter who takes credit of the seized. Result is more important.

  1. Study international experience. Although, hand on heart, I am afraid, we will have to rely here mainly on ourselves...

Alexander Zelichenko,
Director of PF "Central Asian Drug Policy Center"
Candidate of Historical Sciences, retired colonel