Risks from precursors

VCN - The use of precursors to prepare synthetic drugs in large quantities is a threat and challenge to the fight against drugs of competent forces.
Exhibits in the seizure on January 12, 2023, by the Hanoi Customs Department in collaboration with Division 3, Team 5 (Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department, General Department of Customs); PC04 (Hanoi City Police); PC04 (Bac Ninh Province Police) implemented. Photo: Ngoc Linh
Exhibits in the seizure on January 12, 2023, by the Hanoi Customs Department in collaboration with Division 3, Unit 5 (Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department, General Department of Customs); PC04 (Hanoi City Police); PC04 (Bac Ninh Province Police) implemented. Photo: Ngoc Linh

The situation of drug crimes is still complicated

According to the latest report of the General Department of Customs in the first two months of 2023, the activities of criminals buying, selling and illegally transporting narcotics and precursors across the border are still very complicated and have many risks, especially at border gates by road, air, and sea. The tricks to hide drugs are also very sophisticated and diverse such as disguised in packages of candy, functional foods, dog and cat foods, and cosmetics.

On January 12, 2023, Hanoi Customs Department coordinated with Division 3, Unit 5 (Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department, General Department of Customs); PC04 (Hanoi City Police); PC04 (Bac Ninh Province Police) discovered and arrested 1 person with the act of illegally trading and transporting narcotics (from the Netherlands to Vietnam), seizing 6,790 grams of ketamine and 51,788 kilograms of synthetic drugs MDMA. Notably, the subject stored these drugs in plastic bags, sophisticatedly hidden in bags of chocolate candy packed in cartons to bypass the functional forces.

Regarding the results of the fight against drugs in general, from the beginning of the year to February 15, the Customs sector presided over and coordinated with the Police and Border Guard forces to detect and arrest 31 cases with 38 subjects, of which the Customs took charge of 17 cases. Exhibits obtained include 23.5 kg of heroin; 4.5 kg of cannabis; 65.7 kg of ketamine; 5kg of cocaine; 11.3 kg of methamphetamine; 104.8 kg, and 6,100 pills of other drugs.

Beware of the risk of illegal use of precursors

Deputy Director of the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department (General Department of Customs) Nguyen Van Ổn said that through the arrests conducted by the Customs force and other functional agencies, the activities of drug criminals are extremely complicated in all routes, especially postal, air, and express delivery.

Regarding the number of arrests, some experienced officials and civil servants shared that the number of exhibits recently seized does not stop at a few kilograms as in previous years but has reached dozens, even hundreds of kilograms in each case. The common ground from recent high-volume drug seizures shows that most are synthetic drugs. This drug is made from precursors, so the production volume is large, the cost is cheap, and drug crime lines are thoroughly implementing it.

For example, in 2022, the country successfully fought nearly 24,000 cases, arrested more than 36,000 drug offenders, and seized 741 kg of heroin, 105 kg of opium, and 268 kg of marijuana; but only synthesized drug is up to 4.7 tons (according to the report of the Drug Crime Investigation Police Department-C04, Ministry of Public Security-PV), many times higher than traditional drugs.

"When we fight hard and dismantle transnational drug crime lines, the problem may arise that the subjects carry out the production of synthetic drugs in our country," said the Deputy Director of the Anti-smuggling Investigation Department alert. Therefore, the state management of customs for precursors should be further focused.

Facing the above situation, the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department has advised the General Department of Customs leaders to issue many guiding and warning documents with drastic solutions and measures.

Regarding the solution to fight in the coming time, Mr Nguyen Van On emphasized that the drug prevention and control force of the whole sector will continue to deploy the task group to organize the fight to arrest and handle violations. The second group of tasks are solutions in precursor management to prevent drug crimes early and remotely.

For the management of precursors, the Anti-smuggling Investigation Department has advised the General Department of Customs leaders to develop a plan to control precursors in the whole sector. This directs the drug control force of the whole sector to identify methods, tricks and critical areas, especially the airline and postal routes, to organize timely prevention and arrest. In particular, the guiding view of the leaders of the General Department of Customs is that for cases of smuggling and illegal transportation of drugs in the area of customs operations, the Customs authority must be the unit in charge, proactively; out of Customs operations area, they will coordinate with functional forces, especially with the Drug Crime Investigation Police Department (C04).

The process of globalization continues to drive changes in the production, sale and transport of illegal drugs in the EU, and different types of drugs with high purity are appearing more. The source of drugs is traded and transported from outside to the region and produced from within the EU countries. More dangerously, the region is considered an important production site for several new drugs, both for consumption within the bloc and for the global market. Therefore, the relationship between transnational drug crime groups from the EU and other regions, including Asia and Southeast Asia, has been noted.

With a favourable geographical position as a gateway for international trade, Vietnam faces many risks of criminals operating in the illegal transportation and trading of narcotics from Europe or other countries through Europe to enter Vietnam. In fact, over the years, our country's law enforcement forces have arrested many cases of illegal drug transportation in large quantities via sea, by air from this area to Vietnam or vice versa. Which there are many cases of illegal sale and transportation of narcotics in large quantities by air from European countries (Germany, Czech, Belgium, Netherlands) into Vietnam. (Source C04).

By Thai Binh/Phuong Linh

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