Center of Excellence for Reducing the Supply of Illicit Drugs

Cocaine Insights 4 report is released highlighting the impacts of Covid-19 on regional and transatlantic routes that cross Brazil

Brasilia, July 20, 2022 -  Global cocaine production has reached record levels, reaching 1.982 tons as of 2020. The paths traced by trafficking are determined by the places of production and consumption, and Brazil is on the route of cocaine trafficking from South America to Africa and Europe. In the country, the measures adopted in relation to covid-19 seem to have had an impact on the redistribution and management of the cocaine market internally.

Covid-19 and its impacts on the cocaine supply chain inside and outside Brazil are the subject of the fourth edition of the “Cocaine Insights” series, launched this Tuesday (19/07) by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Center of Excellence for Reducing the Supply of Illicit Drugs in Brazil (CdE). The CdE is the result of a partnership between UNODC, the National Secretariat for Drug Policies and Asset Management of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (SENAD/MJSP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Brazil.

“It is important to highlight that UNDP and SENAD, through this partnership with UNODC, have been supporting the structuring and work of the CdE, which has, as part of its mission, to systematize and make data available for carrying out research and studies of the more diverse institutions. The publication Cocaine Insights is a concrete example that the CdE's mission is being achieved”, says Gabriel Andreuccetti, coordinator of the CdE.

The collaboration between UNODC and CdE in the current edition of Cocaine Insights made it possible to complement the results obtained in the first strategic study of the Center of Excellence, entitled “Covid-19 and drug trafficking in Brazil: the adaptation of organized crime and the role of police forces in the pandemic”. With this, it was possible to expand the understanding of the dynamics of drug trafficking, especially cocaine, in Brazil and in the Latin American region.

“Cocaine Insights 4 presents an expanded view based on the analysis of data from Brazil and countries involved in cocaine trafficking in the transatlantic region. The results presented are part of a global research effort to point out changes in the drug trafficking chain and in changing the performance of criminal organizations. In this sense, it is quite a pioneer in the Brazilian context, bringing together data from different police organizations and other institutions linked to the repression of drug trafficking to think about this set of actions in a strategic way”, emphasizes Gustavo Camilo Baptista, director of Public Policies and Institutional Articulation. Substitute for SENAD/MJSP.

During the launch, Andreuccetti explained that “the surveillance of drug trafficking in Brazil is very complex and any study on the subject demands an evidence-based understanding and a robust methodology, since the country is federative and has continental dimensions. That is why the partnership with Brazilian institutions in the integration and collection of data is so important, as well as the partnership with international research bodies such as the Research and Analysis Branch UNODC in Vienna for the analysis and development of this study”, said the coordinator of the CdE.

changes and trends

Cocaine Insights 4 points out important changes in the patterns of drug trafficking and organized crime through the new contexts of the pandemic, relating them to the regional and transatlantic chain of cocaine production and distribution. The report's main findings were presented during the launch event by Antoine Vella, Cocaine Research Officer at UNODC's Drug Research Section.

The publication also shows that Covid-19 has affected the activities of security forces, compromised the activities of organized crime groups, impacted the flows of cocaine and cannabis and induced changes in the modalities of trafficking, among other impacts on the cocaine market in Brazil. and in the region.

Measures to lockdown related to covid-19 in Brazil allowed security forces to dedicate more resources to drug seizures. Thus, the number of seizures of some illicit drugs, such as cannabis, has increased sharply. The report also details how the supply of cannabis has expanded across Brazil while the impact on cocaine has varied across Federative Units (FUs), despite an overall decline in quantities seized at the start of the pandemic period. Data on cocaine seizures in the country suggest that, after the onset of covid-19, there was an increasing trend for the drug in the western states of the country, while a decreasing trend is observed in the eastern states, as the flows of the seaports out of the country have declined.

“Cocaine Insights 4” shows that measures related to covid-19 have also made it difficult for organized crime to internally move imported cocaine towards ports of departure and consumption areas. Difficulties in the cross-border transport of cocaine have likely led to an increase in clandestine flights and, therefore, to an increase in flows to the border states to the west.

A drop in cocaine seizures at Brazilian seaports has paralleled declines in cocaine seized in destination countries, such as Western and Central Europe, in shipments known to have departed Brazil. The decrease in flows from Brazil seems, however, to have been temporary.

“Cocaine Insights 4” also portrays the process of covid-19 accelerating existing trends in cocaine trafficking. The pandemic imposed adaptation needs on public security institutions in Brazil and hampered some police activities, but, conversely, led to restrictive displacement measures that facilitated the interdiction of drugs on the roads. In addition, the report details how cannabis availability expanded across Brazil after the start of the pandemic, driven by large increases in flows from Paraguay.

“Cocaine Insights 4” also highlights how criminal organizations continue to become more specialized and increasingly use new technologies. This complex scenario underlines the need to strengthen international cooperation to tackle transnational organized crime in an articulated, people-centreed way and comprehensively considering economic and social aspects.

Access the Cocaine Insights 4 report HERE.

About the Cocaine Insights series

The “Cocaine Insights” series, developed by UNODC within the framework of the CRIMJUST program and in cooperation with partners and stakeholders at national, regional and international levels, provides, in an accessible and informative format, the latest knowledge and trends on market-related issues. of cocaine: the illicit cocaine trade, its impact, and prospects for the future. This edition is the result of a collaboration between UNODC and the CdE. know more HERE.

With information from UNODC

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