Gardaí joins Colombian police in war on cocaine smuggling

Gardaí has ​​stepped up its crackdown on drug gangs, including the Kinahan cartel, by stepping up intelligence sharing with police in South America.

The Cabinet this week approved a request from the Commissioner of the Guard to initiate an official exchange of information with the Colombian National Police.

The South American country remains the world’s largest producer of cocaine and is a key starting point for drug ships to Europe.

A recent EU drug report stated that Irish gangs including the Kinahan cartel were becoming increasingly important in the global distribution of cocaine. He also said Irish gangs were increasingly establishing their own operations to transport cocaine to Europe, or even buying the drugs directly in or near producing countries.

The new agreement between Gardaí and Colombian police will intensify efforts to target these drug trafficking networks.

Last week during his meeting with the police authority, the Guard Commissioner Drew Harris warned of the growing threat of global terrorism and organized crime.

He said Gardaí must be able to respond to these threats and that partnerships with other security services and law enforcement are important in this regard.

The formal request to sign a Letter of Intent was received by the Chief of the Guard after consultation with the Colombian Ambassador to Ireland.

This is a broad declaration of the two police forces to cooperate and exchange information on the basis of agreements within an established framework.

The deal was approved by Cabinet on Tuesday evening, allowing Justice Minister Helen McEntee to sign the letter of intent with her Colombian

“Drug trafficking from Colombia to Europe and Ireland is a major problem, with recent reports indicating that Irish gangs are playing an increasingly important role,” oa source said.

“This agreement will strengthen efforts to target these transnational networks and disrupt the connections made by criminals in the two countries.”

Earlier this year, an estimated 30 million euros worth of cocaine disguised as charcoal, believed to have originated in Colombia and destined for Ireland, was seized in the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The agreement comes after the creation of new liaison posts in several major cities, including the Colombian capital Bogota.

A senior detective, who played a key role in targeting the Kinahan Cartel, was deployed there earlier this year for a five-year position.

The government said the deployment of these garda liaison officers had been effective in supporting the exchange of information and the coordination of operations across international borders.

A 2019 report from the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction noted that Irish gangs were part of a number of European-based gangs increasingly involved in the trafficking and distribution of cocaine from America. from South.

“At the same time, some European organized crime groups have established a presence in Latin American countries, developing a new ‘end-to-end’ business model to manage the supply chain, with large amounts of cocaine being purchased from proximity to low-cost production areas, ”the also said.

He warned that this could lead to competition and conflict in the cocaine market, leading to more violence and corruption.

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