Later today, European law enforcement, customs officials and prosecutors are likely to agree enhanced working methods to strengthen the fight against the manufacture of illegal drugs.
The Council of Europe’s Pompidou Group is behind the conference, which brought experts from 22 countries and nine international organisations to Strasbourg for two days of talks and networking on ways to prevent the diversion of drug precursors.
These chemicals are used to make legal products but are also crucial to the preparation of narcotics such as Cocaine, Heroin, Amphetamine and Ecstasy.
For example, some 70 per cent of the global trade in Acetic anhydride, a precursor which can be used in the manufacture of household products but which is also important in the fabrication of Heroin, is centred on Europe. Some 600 tons of the chemical were seized in Iraq between 2008 and 2011.
The Strasbourg conference was an opportunity for the experts to learn of new ‘hotspots’ in the global manufacture of drug precursors. They also discussed the spread of synthetic drug laboratories and the emergence of ‘pre-precursors’ – chemicals which can be used to manufacture the precursors needed to make illegal narcotics.
Organised crime’s investment has made drug precursors a global problem for law enforcement, customs and the judiciary, with laboratories uncovered in all parts of the world.
The lucrative scale of the trade in drug precursors was underlined by a speaker who revealed that the street price in Tokyo, Japan, of one gram of Methamphetamine is now $1,000.
Information: Pompidou Group