Information Networks along the Heroin Route. Operational Meetings (14/02/2014)

TBILISI and ODESA, 27TH – 31st of January 2014

Info net meeting TbilisiBetween 27th and 31st January 2014, two operational meetings and a training exercise have taken place in Tbilisi and Odesa, involving more than 20 law enforcement officials, including officers from Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Turkey and Azerbaijan. These meetings were supported by 2 specialist staff from EUROPOL; representatives from EUBAM[1], CARICC[2], GUAM[3], UNODC[4] and the US DEA[5], as well as experienced law enforcement officers from the French National Police, the French Customs, the Spanish Guardia Civil, the Italian Agenzia delle Dogane and the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA).

Both meetings and the training exercise were organised and financed by the EU "Heroin Route II – Information Networks" Project. The first part of the meeting was hosted by the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs in Tbilisi, and was followed by a practical training exercise involving all delegates, including visits to Poti Port in Georgia and Illichivsyk Port in Ukraine. The activity in Ukraine was hosted by EUBAM, and supported by the Security Service of Ukraine, in conjunction with Ukraine Ministry of Internal Affairs, Customs Service of Ukraine and the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine.

The Project on "Information Networks along the Heroin Route" is financed under Phase II of the programme "Fight against organised crime and drug trafficking along the Heroin Routes", by the European Union's Instrument for Stability and Peace (IfS)[6], in the framework of Article 4.1 of that regulation[7], and implemented by a consortium of EU Member States led by FIIAPP[8]. The aim of the project is to promote regional and trans-regional co-operation, assisting law enforcement along the route to develop future operational strategies against heroin trafficking.

The participants at the meetings discussed co-operation in on-going investigations, as well as new trends, modus operandi, smuggling routes and investigative methods in the area of drug trafficking. Practical advice was also provided during the training exercise regarding the targeting of suspect shipments and vehicles.  The meetings underlined the importance of future co-operation in the field of fighting against drug trafficking between law enforcement agencies at an operational level, and agreed on future activities to assist in targeting the smugglers.

The participants welcomed the meetings and the training exercise as fruitful occasions to strengthen regional co-operation between law enforcement agencies, to exchange investigation best-practices, and to discuss the trends of narcotic flows through the South Caucasus, Black Sea and Central Asian regions. The project will seek to conduct similar operational meetings in Central Asia in the course of 2014.

[1] EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine.

[2] Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs. Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors.

[3] Organisation for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova).

[4] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

[5] United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

[6] IfS: Regulation (EC) No. 1717/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing an Instrument for Stability (OJ L 327, 24.11.1006, p. l)

[7] Long-term actions, IfS Regulation Article 4.1. "threats to law and order, to the security and safety of individuals, to critical infrastructure and to public health".

[8] Fundación Internacional y para Iberoamérica de Administración y Políticas Públicas ( in Spain. The project is implemented in partnership with the Serious Organised Crime Agency in United Kingdom, Public Experts in Economics and Finance ADTEF in France and Agenzia delle Dogane (Italy).