Sinaloa Cartel and the FARC traffic drugs to the Middle East
By Dialogo April 11, 2014
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Sinaloa Cartel, Los Zetas, and other Latin American transnational criminal organizations are trafficking large amounts of drugs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other countries in the Middle East, according to Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamin, deputy chief of the Dubai Police Force.
Latin American drug trafficking groups are also laundering millions of dollars in profits in Middle Eastern countries, said Nestor Rosanía, director of the director of the Center for Studies in Security, Defense, and International Affairs (CESDAI) of Colombia.
Drug traffickers from Mexico, Colombia, and other countries are looking for new drug markets, said Raul Benítez, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
Drug cartels seek new markets
To maximize their profits, South American and Mexican drug traffickers are always looking for new markets, Benítez said.
“The Colombian criminal organizations are looking for safe markets and routes because Mexican cartels are no longer reliable as intermediaries ever since the Mexican government has dealt them heavy blows,” the security analyst said.
Latin American drug traffickers have forged alliances with organized crime groups in the Middle East, Benítez said.
The FARC, the Sinaloa Cartel, Los Zetas and other transnational criminal organizations are using the UAE as a strategic center for trafficking drugs and money laundering, Johan Obdola, president of the International Organization for Security and Intelligence, told the Khaleej Times. Obdola advises governments in the Middle East how to fight drug trafficking.
South American and Mexican transnational criminal organizations have increased their operations in the Middle East over time, Obdola said. During the last 10 years, drug cartels have increased their operations in West Africa. From that region, drug traffickers have been transporting large amounts of drugs to the Middle East, Obdola said.
The zero taxation policy of member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) makes those countries attractive to drug traffickers who are looking for locations to launder their drug profits. The GCC is comprised of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman.
Organized crime groups based in Brazil, Uruguay, El Salvador, Venezuela, and Trinidad and Tobago are also looking for new drug trafficking routes in the GCC region, authorities said.
Large drug seizures
Authorities in the Middle East have made a series of significant drug seizures in recent months.
For example, security services in Lebanon seized 13 kilos of cocaine from a commercial airplane which departed from Brazil. The plane stopped in Qatar before it landed in Lebanon.
Saudi Arabian security forces seized a parcel sent from South America which contained 152 grams of cocaine, according to the 2013 Report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
UAE security forces seized 11 tons of drugs in 2013, according to officials with the Federal Anti-Narcotics Agency of the United Arab Emirates.
In 2013, security forces in Iran, Pakistan, Oman and the UAE each made drug seizures of more than 10 tons from large ships, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Latin American drug traffickers “not only break drug laws, but also laws that govern financial institutions,” Lt. Gen. Tamin, deputy chief of the Dubai Police Force, told the website Flarenetwork.org.
About 75 percent of the drugs seized in the Middle East were sent from Brazil, according to published reports.
Organized crime groups can make large profits by trafficking drugs to the Middle East. One kilo of cocaine can sell for up to $90,000 (USD) in the Middle East. By comparison, the same amount of cocaine would sell for $30,000 (USD) in the United States, La Nación reported.
The increase in drug trafficking in the Middle East has led to greater numbers of arrests for that activity, authorities said.
For example, almost 90 percent of the inmates in the UAE were arrested for drug-related crimes, according to a recent survey by the Detainee Organization of the United Kingdom in Dubai.
“The drug cartels in Latin America are increasingly decentralizing their activities. The atomization of drug trafficking bands has become more dynamic. There are mini cartels operating independently,” said Rosania, the security analyst from CESDAI.
Higher levels of drug trafficking in the Middle East could lead to organized crime violence, according to Rosanía.
“The Middle East is becoming a strategic route for transnational criminal groups to move drugs; whoever has control of distribution points, locations, and the purchase and sell of drugs is going to have power and generate violence,” Rosanía said.
In 2013, authorities opened the Crime Information Center in Doha, Qatar, to coordinate the battle against drug trafficking in the GCC region. The center was opened to maximize cooperation between security forces from different counties, officials said. Security forces share information about investigations and the activities of drug traffickers, authorities said.
The center has signed cooperation agreement with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for the Middle East of the World Customs Organization, and the Police Training Institute of the Interior Ministry of Qatar.
Countries in the Middle East have been working with agencies around the world to combat drug trafficking threats. International cooperation is important in the fight against transnational criminal organizations, Rosanía said.
Authorities in the Middle East need to “understand how Latin American cartels change and adapt, how to deal with criminal structures within their capacity, and how to train their security forces to combat drug trafficking,” Rosanía said.
“These are countries that have faced racial, ethnic, or religious conflicts, but not drug cartels,” Rosanía added.
Excellent information, congratulations for having such a great contribution on a very problematic issue. It's very important that this information is broadcast by the television media, to create awareness on the delinquent power of the narcterrorist organizations such as the FARCs. Unfortunately as long as there is drug prohibition, there will be extreme drug addicts. The way I see it, if policies of all countries were in agreement and allowed limited drug use, cartels and drug traffickers would disappear, and just like it happened with liquor and cigars, drugs would be allowed with the already known ads, such as "excessive consumption can be detrimental to health".
In summary: The intelligence of the Cartels and drug traffickers should be used in projects to eliminate world poverty. A lot of interesting information, but it doesn't present a reasonable basis to compare it with official information. There might be errors in those conclusions and it would only be spreading errors and drawing anticipated conclusions. There is information that indicates that the North American market is the main drug consumer, and indirectly feeding the drug traffickers. It's very important to eliminate this affliction that burdens us everyday. We all should deal with it as a society, and put a stop to this evil that is worse than any other disease before the international organizations. Who benefits from and who is harmed by drug trafficking in the world. The evil of the drug trafficking is attacking all countries in the world. It is an evil that is increasing instead of decreasing, as it happens in my country Bolivia, which has also become the backyard of drug trafficking. Johan Obdola is one of the international expert who brought this issues in the Middle East I think these people should be treated they way they treat those who disagree with them. This news is false. In Colombia, those who deal coke are politicians like Uribe, who have armies of paramilitaries, criminal gangs and other dark forces, such as the media that is telling the world that the traffickers are the FARCs. This way, with smokescreens, they are deceiving the national and international opinion... Very good. Maria querida, your country has been a narco nation for a long time. What are the FARCs trying to achieve with their famous "talks"? Legalize drugs in Colombia? This is all very good. The best thing is that in this country people are very gullible and believe that Pablo Escobar is dead. Don't you think he's alive and laughing his ass off watching how the country is falling apart in the hands of these oligarchs. I think we have enough with the consumption of liquor and cigarettes, which have caused plenty of harm to mankind, to now legalize more dangerous drugs. The international drug cartels have a lot of power to put pressure and achieve their legalization. We need to be aware that once they become legal, there's no turning back. Few will win and many will lose. Let's promote sports and there will be no need for chemical stimulants in order to achieve a holistic wellness. I totally agree. I think that the drug traffickers would be embarrassed. The FARC are rapists of children, mutilators of children, they are pedophiles, infamous atheists who kill without pity for their drug business sponsored by Santos a repugnant government leader accomplice of massacres of innocent people perpetrated by the scourge of the narco FARC, all they want is a filthy business. Free us, almighty, forgiving and merciful God, from these hyenas who deceive the world with a process