An international drug trafficking network dismantled in Mali

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In late October 2016, Malian authorities arrested the alleged kingpin behind an international drug trafficking network operating in Mali. The arrest was carried out through efficient cooperation and information exchange between law enforcement agencies in the region, which UNODC facilitated. This represents one of the first operations in Mali that result in the dismantlement of an international drug trafficking network.

"His arrest was possible thanks to the exchange of information between OCS [the "Office Central des Stupéfiants"-Mali's centralized drug control institution] and the OCRETIS [Senegal's analogous institution]. The information that we received from our colleagues in Dakar allowed us to locate the suspect in Niamey, Niger."

Related by the Head of the Public Relations and Communications Division of OCS, this information showcases increased capacity and enhanced regional cooperation on behalf of Malian law enforcement authorities in the fight against drug trafficking.

Seized drugs worth some CFA 700 million (over USD 1 million) incinerated in early November 2016
Seized drugs worth some CFA 700 million (over USD 1 million) incinerated in early November 2016

The beginning of this investigation dates back to May 2016, when the OCS seized a record amount of illicit drugs, confiscating more than 2.7 tons of cannabis in Bamako aboard a truck from Ghana. "The multiple training sessions delivered by UNODC, and in particular those related to concealment methods and general knowledge on drugs, allowed making this record seizure," confirmed the Head of the Public Relations Division and Communication of the OCS.

Furthermore, in June 2016, UNODC and the United Nations Police (UNPOL) conducted a two-week specialized training on investigative techniques related to drug trafficking cases. The training consisted of practical exercises of tracking and surveillance, which enabled carrying out of several drug seizures, while also facilitating the arrest of the kingpin and the dismantlement of his network.

A portion of the drugs seized in May 2016
A portion of the drugs seized in May 2016

In August 2016, OCS seized more than 400 grams of cocaine cut with ephedrine for a market value of 13 million CFA (about 20,000 USD) in Mopti, which confirmed the existence of a criminal network between Bamako and Segou Kidal.

Since 2015, UNODC and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) have been providing joint assistance to OCS staff, Police and Gendarmerie forces in Mali. The units of the Malian Police anti-drug squad (the "Brigade des Stupéfiants") were the first recipients of such training when the Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions of DPKO, Dmitry Titov, launched a Quick Impact Project in partnership with the Executive Director of UNODC, Yury Fedotov, in order to step up the fight against drug trafficking.

In the framework of its Sahel Programme, UNODC continues to implement activities in partnership with the MINUSMA in Mali in order to strengthen the capacity of Malian authorities in the fight against all forms of transnational organized crime in all its forms.

These activities align with the renewed mandate of the MINUSMA as stipulated in Resolution 2295 (2016) of the United Nations Security Council (S/RES/2295), which among others, aims to "limit the proliferation of all arms and transnational organized crime and other illicit activities such as drug trafficking, smuggling of migrants and human trafficking."