World Customs Organization2006-07-26 11:17:30

Customs and Drugs 2005: The annual definitive report

The World Customs Organization has released its definitive 2005 report on Customs and Drugs, an annual report that provides a global overview of drug trafficking across the globe and showcases the efforts by Customs administrations to fight this scourge with all means at their disposal.

During 2005 the following trends and statistics prevailed:

Heroin - A total of 734 incidents were recorded world-wide and a total of almost 5 tonnes of heroin was seized, almost 4 tonnes less than total seizures recorded in 2004. The European regions comprising Eastern Central Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Western Europe account for 86 % of the total quantities seized. Most heroin seizures involve road transport moving overland and the means of transport is the usual place of concealment.

Cocaine - A total of almost 49 tonnes of plain cocaine, involving 5,773 incidents were recorded. South America remains the principal production region in the world while trafficking involving the African continent and especially West Africa rose significantly during 2005.

Cannabis Resin - The number of seizures reported in 2005 decreased slightly from 1,157 to 1,046. Of particular note is the huge fall in the quantity seized, 301 tonnes compared to 427 in 2004. More than 75 % of the quantity seized was detected in Western Europe.

Herbal Cannabis - Herbal cannabis is produced around the world. Seizures fell dramatically in 2005 with just 71.6 tonnes reported against 99.3 tonnes in 2004.

Amphetamines - The volume of amphetamines seized in 2005 increased by 15% to 7.1 tonnes. More than 82 % of the quantity seized was recorded in Saudi Arabia. The largest single seizure concerned 881,500 tablets detected in a freight consignment.

MDMA (Ecstasy) - The number of MDMA seizures decreased significantly from 361 cases in 2004 to only 203 in 2005. Volumes also decreased from 3.3 tonnes in 2004 to almost 2 tonnes in 2005. 60% of the volume seized was recorded in Australia with the largest seizure ever detected numbering 1,000 kg or 5 million ecstasy tablets.

Methamphetamine - The production of methamphetamine is still centred in the Asia/Pacific region where almost all detections took place. Although the number of detections remained stable at 134 incidents in 2005, the quantity seized dropped sharply from 420 kg to 400 kg in 2005. This is the lowest quantity seized in many years.

Khat (catha edulis) - This drug is primarily cultivated in Eastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The legal position of khat is not uniform in Europe, enabling huge quantities to be legally imported into specific countries where it is then broken down into smaller shipments and distributed to countries where it is illegal. The majority of the seizures are made from air passenger baggage, airfreight or express mail, and to a lesser extent road transport when destined for countries in Europe where it has an illegal tag.

WCO Customs and Drugs 2005 Report is available on request.

Laure Tempier
Communication Service
World Customs Organization
Tel: 00 32 2 209 94 42
Fax: 00 32 2 209 9262

For more information contact:
30, Rue Du Marché
Tel:     +32 2 209 92 11
Fax:     +32 2 209 92 92



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