Beware of new drug trafficking modes: Interpol

By Benjamin Pulta

February 26, 2019, 12:22 pm

MANILA -- The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) warned its member nations against various methods used by drug traffickers in transporting their contraband.

The organization said these include aerial drones, merchant vessels, women's lingerie and mail order services.

"The Interpol Innovation center has identified Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) commonly referred to as drones, being used with increasing frequency to illegally transport contraband goods into prisons in Interpol member countries," the organization said in a notice to its member countries.

The organization said the use of drones to deliver contraband into a prison requires little knowledge or training with drone equipment.

"The offender often utlitizes commercially available multicopter UAS devices to deliver payloads of contraband to their targets. These widely available units are able to be purchased easily by the public," it noted.

The Interpol notice said the drones are used by individuals or organized groups colluding with individuals inside the system, to deliver contraband usually by attaching a payload to the device either (by) a tether or an affixed remote release system.

"These are engineered to deliver the payload at a previously agreed upon location to be collected by a recipient inside the prison system,"

"In some cases, the payloads carried by UAS devices into the prison system have been crafted to resemble other objects such as tennis balls, juice cartons, and dead birds in an attempt to disguise the contents," it said.

In a 'purple notice' on criminal modus operandi dated January 16, Interpol also reported a drug smuggling incident in Cape Verde involving 66 condoms filled with liquid cocaine hidden in women's brassiere.

The incident, which occurred last November, involved four women, three Brazilian and one Venezuelan, who were caught by the Cape Verdean authorities at the Amilcar Cabral International Airport for carrying drugs in their bras.

In another purple notice, Interpol said unidentified drug suppliers were exploiting "resender" parcel services in sending opium poppy heads.

The organization said that between Sept. 26 and Nov. 5, 2018, Australia Border Force (ABF) officers identified 11 consignments with description variations of "craft materials," "decorative bulbs," and dried decorative heads originating from the UK, bound for addresses in Perth, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

Inspection by ABF revealed the dried bulbs contained opium poppy seeds, a prohibited item that can only be imported with a permit.

Eleven consignments were not concealed, but rather wrapped in a plastic bag and placed into a brown paper bag or cardboard box. Most consignment notes were printed. However, a couple were handwritten.

Six consignments were from the same consignor, and two consignments did not list a consignor name or address.

The shipment totaled 17 kilos, Interpol said.

"All consignor addresses are false entities. The country origin of the consignments suggests resender activity, given opium production is predominantly in regions of Asia," the report said.

Interpol also informed its member organizations of incidents involving heroin smuggled to beaches in merchant vessels, where one incident involved the seizure of 842 kilograms of heroin.

"The seizure confirms the existence of a new trend in the smuggling of heroin from Pakistan to Yemen and then to the Red Sea, using merchant vessels in the international waters near Sudan and Egypt's territorial waters. There ,drugs are smuggled by small fishing boats directly to Egypt or to Red Sea beaches in Port Sudan, East of Sudan, before being transported overland to Egypt," the Interpol notice underscored. (PNA)