Two tonnes and two million drug tablets seized in Operation Mekong Dragon phase 2

VCN- Tons of drugs, precious wood and wildlife products were seized by members of Operation Mekong Dragon phase 2.
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The leader of Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department attended the online conference. Photo:T.B

Transnational crimes are increasingly complex

On November 12, Director of Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department (under the General Department of Vietnam Customs) Nguyen Hung Anh participated in anonline conference to summarise theOperation Mekong Dragon phase 2 on the fight against drugs and wild animals and plants.

Speaking at the conference as a co-chair of the initiative (together with China Customs), Anh said that through the preliminary report, the Operation Mekong Dragon phase 2 in 2020 has recorded positive results.

Operation members tackled a total of 284 cases of drug and wildlife trafficking; seized nearly 2,000 kg and 2 million drug tablets; nearly 2,000 kg and more than 1,500 wildlife products, as well as 1000 m3 of precious wood.

“These figures showed that transnational criminal organisations have no intention of giving up or reducing illegal activities due to restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic. On the contrary, they seem to implement more sophisticated and reckless activities," Anh said.

In Vietnam, from the beginning of 2020 to now, Vietnam Customs has worked with competent forces to arrest 129 cases with 162 suspects, and seized more than 800kg and nearly 400,000 drug tablets.

The illegal trading and transportation of drugs by criminal organisations from foreign countries to Vietnam and transit to a third country for consumption continue to develop complicatedly and seriously.Transnational illegal trading and transportation of drugs take place on all border routes, land border gates, seaports, international airports and international post offices.

Anh said from practice in controlling the fight against smuggling and illegal transportation of drugs, wildlife as well as transnational crimes, the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department appreciates the international coordination and the Operation Mekong Dragon, which is one of the typical examples.

Two tons and two million drug tablets seized in Operation Mekong Dragon phase 2
The statement of the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department in the online conference. Photo: T. Binh.

At the online conference, Director of the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department (China Customs) Sun Zhi Jie highly appreciated the cooperation in the operation and suggested the members continue implementing phase 3.

The representative of the UNODC Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Jeremy Douglas congratulated the parties on the success of the operation. According to the UNODC’s representative, amid the difficult context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the results of phase 2 showed the great efforts of the members and the importance in cooperation for the next phase and UNODC’s support in the phase 3.

Effective initiative

Based on the success of the Mekong Dragon Operation phase 1 in 2019 on the fight against illegal transportation of drugs and precursors in the Mekong sub-region co-chaired by Vietnam and China Customs, the UNODC has agreed with Vietnam Customs and the customs members to continue the Operation Mekong Dragon phase 2.

In Operation Mekong Dragon phase 1, members tackled 164 cases and 2,230 kg of drugs.

The scope of phase 2 is expanded customs cooperation in combating drugs and theillegal transportation of wildlife and transnational crimes.

The operation was launched at the International Online Conference on May 8, 2020 with the participation of 15 member customs agencies including: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

To proactively closely control, detect promptly acts of trafficking drugs, wildlife and transnational crime lines, to demonstrate the role of the initiative country and to successfully implement in phase 2 of the operation, the General Department of Vietnam Customs directed local customs departments to request, raise awareness and assign tasks to subordinate units to implement the operation.

In particular, improving information collection on the situation, methods and tricks of smuggling, illegal transportation of drugs and wild flora and fauna for risk analysis, to identify key objects and warn risks for customs inspection, supervision and control.

At the same time, strengthening strict control and inspection for goods, records and documents for suspicious shipments. If detecting any signs of violation, it is necessary to take measures to detect, arrest and handle.

By Quang Hung/Ngoc Loan

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