Did you know that the wastewater from a city can reveal how much cocaine its inhabitants consume? The CEPOL course 10/2014 “Cocaine smuggling” opened with very interesting findings from a European project: wastewater from over 40 European cities were analysed to explore the drug-taking habits of their citizens.
The activity was organised by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) on 18-20 November 2014 in Lisbon (Portugal). The course programme presented how cocaine is smuggled from South America to the European Union. The course also addressed security in South and Central America container ports in relation to “rip-on, rip-off” modus operandi. The military-naval-law enforcement operations conducted around the Atlantic Sea area proved to be very inspiring. This first-hand expertise was provided by joint container profiling units established with support of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime in Latin America and the Caribbean.
European cooperation is crucial to deal with this matter. The course was part of CEPOL’s contribution to the EU Policy Cycle, which allowed its Spanish driver to introduce the Operational Action Plan 2015 on Cocaine to the participants. Furthermore, Europol presented analytical tools that are available for EU Member States and Eurojust offered a range of services such as judicial contact points in third countries.
Participants could also benefit from customs expertise on how to decide which container - among millions arriving to European ports - should be chosen for a thorough examination. We were also impressed by the examples on travellers’ inspection provided by the staff of an Irish airport and by how they evaluate suspicious information not fitting into the traveller’s story.
The judiciary aspect of cocaine smuggling was promoted not only via the role of Joint Investigation Teams, but also through a new tool called European Investigation Order, which will be of a great help for criminal investigations. The tool has a lot of potential – especially for those who have experienced lengthy mutual legal assistance requests - though its implementation will only start in 2017.
The colleagues from Portugal arranged everything perfectly, including three days of continuous rain! It helped us to stick together and we greatly enjoyed the time after the official business too. As course manager, I would like to thank all experts for their excellent work and the Judiciary Police School for their support. I hope that all delegates received a lot of professional input and that they will explore much beyond their comfort zone in further investigations.