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EU strengthens anti-drug operations on cocaine route in West Africa

An EU funded anti-drug operation labelled "Operation COCAIR III" carried out in 30 international airports in West and Central Africa and Brazil, has achieved impressive results and led to concrete seizures of substantial amounts of illicit drugs and capital.

The Secretary General of WCO, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya welcomed the specialist unit of operational coordination.

The anti-drug operation was carried out by the World Customs Organization (WCO), together with Interpol and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, between 28 November and 4 December 2011.

It resulted in 45 seizures: 

  • 486 kg of cannabis;
  • 24 kg of cocaine;
  • 5 kg of heroin;
  • Interceptions of amphetamines and methamphetamines such as Ecstasy;
  • Huge amounts of various counterfeit products, arms and ivory products; 
  • Cash capital amounting to nearly €3 million was confiscated.

The operation COCAIR III - the third joint EU-WCO operation under the Cocaine Route programme - was set up to reinforce airport controls against the trafficking of illicit drugs, in particular of cocaine, at 30 international airports in West and Central Africa, such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal.

These airports are located along the "Cocaine Route" and are used by traffickers to transport the drug from Latin America to Europe, via West Africa. Sao Paolo Airport in Brazil was also part of the exercise.
The operation also led to increased airport checks, helped to raise awareness about the fraud occasionally committed by airport control services and reinforced the exchange of secure information between custom services and police, particularly in cocaine trafficking.

Drug trafficking is one of the major sources of revenue of worldwide organised crime and has a huge negative impact, both on health and national insecurity. Disrupting this trafficking requires coordinated international action to reduce both the demand and the supply of drugs.

The EU has taken a leading role in combating the international trafficking of illicit drugs by financing actions to prevent money-laundering, support law enforcement and improve communication between airports and seaports.

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Last update: 17/02/2012 | Top