Director of CARICC Grigory PUSTOVITOV:
CARICC BECAME AN INTEGRAL PART IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ILLICIT DRUG TRAFFICKING IN THE CENTRAL ASIAN REGION
This year the Central Asian Regional Information Center for Combating Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors has marked its 10th anniversary. Its director Grigory PUSTOVITOV talked about the results achieved in the fight against drug trafficking and further plans for the development of the center in an interview with Interfax-Kazakhstan.
- Grigory Borisovich, over the past decade all participants have praised the activity of the center, it has proved its necessity. What are the plans for its further development?
- As you know, the idea of creating the Central Asian Regional Information Center for Combating Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors (CARICC) was agreed and approved in 2004 by all the States – the Parties to the Memorandum of Understanding on Regional Cooperation in Drug Control signed on May 4, 1996.
In 2006, all the CARICC fundamental documents were approved and recommended for signing by the heads of the contracting states (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).
At the initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2007, it was decided to launch a pilot phase of the center's activities and through the international competitive selection the first employees were hired of the CARICC member states competent authorities.
Thus, this year we have crossed the threshold of the center's 10-year activity. Over this period CARICC has become an integral part in countering illicit drug trafficking in the Central Asian region, having proved that it’s a fairly serious and integral international organization not only at the regional but also at the world level.
In the last 10 years since the establishment of the center quite a lot has been done, in particular, the assistance in organizing and conducting international operations to counter drug trafficking, analysis and exchange of information on cross-border drug-related crime.
However, currently, instead of traditional natural drugs, growing synthetic drugs production and illegal trafficking, new psychoactive substances are presenting an ever increasing threat. In light of rapid development of information communication electronic forms, the wide use of social networks and mobile communication technologies, the transnational drug traffickers apply new forms and methods in their illegal actions.
Therefore, we need to further put together efforts of the competent authorities of the CARICC contracting states to work out coordinated approaches to increase the effectiveness of countering transnational criminals related to illicit drug trafficking at the regional level.
At the same time, the center intends to develop international cooperation with current partners and establish mutually beneficial cooperation with anti-drug authorities from the states in the other regions of the world.
- Are there plans to expand the list of CARICC full members and observers?
- As I already mentioned, CARICC attaches great importance to the expansion of its potential by developing cooperation with competent international and regional organizations. Some of them have observer status at CARICC, memoranda or protocols of cooperation have been signed with the others.
Currently, the CARICC member states are scrutinizing the issue of Turkey's accession to the Agreement on the CARICC Establishment.
In October this year during a working meeting with the representative of the Mongolian Embassy the intention of this country's leadership to become not only an observer at CARICC but also a party to the agreement was expressed.
For several years the center has been receiving signals from Afghanistan's competent authorities about their interest to become a full-fledged contracting party. On this matter we express our full readiness to assist in drafting relevant documents, moreover given that consent for Afghanistan to join has been received from all the parties to the agreement.
- What work has been done by the center this year? What most significant results of the conducted operations coordinated by CARICC in the fight against drug trafficking can be highlighted?
- In 2017, CARICC, in the framework of its mandate, carried out the large-scale work to facilitate coordination of operations aimed at combating illicit drug trafficking and of information interaction.
Citing specific examples one can note some of them.
Thus, within the framework of CARICC information-coordination interaction with the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry an anti-drug operation was successfully carried out, which resulted in the seizure of over 8 kg of heroin, and one citizen of the CARICC member state was detained.
In conjunction with the Tajik President’s Drug Control Agency and border guards of Tajikistan’s State National Security Committee a two-stage international operation was conducted aimed at busting a drug trafficking route from Afghanistan. Within the first stage of the operation, 10.6 kg of opium and 790 g of hashish were removed from illegal trafficking on the Tajik-Afghan state border.
As a result of the operation second stage 31 kg of opium, one AKM-7.62 assault rifle, 5 magazines, 132 rounds and three GP-25 under barrel grenade launchers were seized.
Given the achieved results, Tajikistan’s Drug Control Agency expressed its gratitude to CARICC for assistance and coordination of this international operation.
In addition, with CARICC information-coordination assistance, the Directorate for Combating Illegal Drug Trafficking of Tajikistan’s Interior Ministry conducted a multilateral anti-drug operation using the "external controlled drug delivery" method from Tajikistan to Russia, as a result of which three persons - citizens of Tajikistan and Russia - were detained with 35 kg of hashish.
- Earlier CARICC stated that there are problems carrying out international special operations, especially with the involvement of competent authorities of the states that are not CARICC members. To resolve these problems, the center was planning to send recommendations on the legal base unification for combating international drug gangs to the countries. What has been done in this aspect?
- By decision of the Council of National Coordinators of the CARICC Member States dated March 2016, a plan for the center's activities for 2016-2017 was devised, where one of the objectives is to draft recommendations for a unified approach to international operations using the "controlled drug delivery" method.
Thus, under the approved scenario of a controlled test delivery this operation was conducted from 29 May to 5 June 2017, the route of which started from the Afghan border through Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and ended in the city of Chelyabinsk of Russia.
In the course of coordination and conduct of this operation the legal framework regulating the organization and conduct of joint international operations, including controlled deliveries of narcotic drugs, has been explored.
On November 14 this year CARICC held a summing-up working meeting with the heads of operational units of the national coordinating and competent bodies of the participating states. The parties discussed the mechanisms and procedures approving external and transit controlled deliveries at the national level and procedures for transferring controlled cargo to the borders of the states.
When summing up the results of the operation the participants of the event worked out a unified approach to international operations titled the "external controlled drug deliveries", developed an algorithm on actions as part of planning, coordinating and carrying out joint operations in the future and documenting them.
- Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov expressed his opinion that CARICC should be used more actively for anti-drug cooperation with international organizations, including the establishment of operational cooperation with the Joint Planning Cell of the Triangular Initiative by Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. What work is being done in this field?
- CARICC abides by the initiative put forward by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to develop the so-called network of networks to establish and expand links between the regional organizations.
In this aspect CARICC seeks to strengthen interaction with the regional organizations such as the Asia-Pacific Information Coordination Center for combating Drug Crimes (APICC) with regard to illicit drug trafficking, Southeastern European Law Enforcement Center of (SELEC) and Joint Planning Cell of the Triangular Initiative by Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan (JPC).
Currently, the work is under way in order to prepare the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between JPC and CARICC. Consent to its signing has already been received from the six of the CARICC member states.
- Thank you for the interview!
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