International Experts Approve Procedures to Combat Drug Trafficking

By Dialogo
July 28, 2009

Experts from fifteen countries met in the Chilean city of Viña del Mar within the framework of the OAS’s Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, aiming at unifying procedures to combat drug trafficking at sea. The event, which took place as part of the program promoted by the Chilean Navy to monitor the fulfillment of international standards and agreements for protecting human life at sea, also served to standardize procedures and become acquainted with new modalities and routes used in the seaborne drug trade. The meeting of technical experts enabled the exchange of experiences related to “the creativity” developed by drug traffickers who bring drugs into the countries of the continent or use certain countries, like Chile, as transit routes. The international group of experts that participated in the event was headed by the Chilean Navy’s Director of Security for Maritime Operations, Rear Admiral Juan Pablo Heusser. Heusser indicated that “this meeting’s importance is principally based on standardizing procedures in Latin America and knowing the way in which drug trafficking takes place, as well as the up-to-date modality being implemented for that traffic.” He affirmed that one of the principal conclusions was the need to approve procedures in order to confront, for example, the new forms that traffickers have found for transporting drugs with the help of new technologies. “What’s new are some substances that are diluted in water or are inside liquor or wine bottles, but aren’t wine; some countries now have adopted the use of submersibles or specially fitted-out vehicles, something that we need to understand and learn about,” he explained. The president of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, CICAD, part of the Organization of American States, María Teresa Chadwick, who attended the event, indicated that this subject is a worldwide preoccupation. “CICAD promotes the work of different groups of experts who work in different places in the hemisphere and address the production of and demand for drugs that give rise to drug trafficking,” as she briefly described the institution. She said that the idea is to share certain strategies that may make it possible to avoid an increase in the movement of drugs through the different countries of the region by sea. She added in this regard that the objective for the countries of the hemisphere “is to be able to combine strategies for reducing demand internally and also for reducing the external supply, by sea or by way of money laundering.” The international meeting brought together representatives from Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, the United States, Venezuela, and Chile.