Preliminary results of the CSTO “Channel-Arax” sub-regional anti-drug operation have been summarized

Preliminary results of the CSTO “Channel-Arax” sub-regional anti-drug operation have been summarized 26.05.2023

On 26 May 2023, in Yerevan (the Republic of Armenia), the Chairman of the Coordinating Council of the Heads of the Competent Authorities for Countering the Illicit Drug Trafficking of the CSTO member states, Police Colonel General Andrey Khrapov, the Deputy Minister of Interior of the Russian Federation, and Vahe Ghazaryan, Minister of Interior of the Republic of Armenia, summarized preliminary results of the CSTO sub-regional anti-drug operation "Channel-Arax".

The operation was conducted from 22 to 26 May 2023 on the territory of CSTO member states with the aim of cutting off channels of drugs, new psychoactive and powerful substances flowing into the CSTO zone of responsibility, neutralization of international transnational drug gangs, elimination of illegal drug production as well as undermining of economic basis of drug business, including legalization of drug proceeds.

The operation involved law enforcement agencies, border and customs authorities, state security services, financial intelligence units of the CSTO member states, as well as observers from China, Syria, the CARICC, the UNODC, the EAG, and the Council of Financial Intelligence Heads.

The International Coordination Staff for managing the operation was deployed at the Police Educational Complex of the Armenian Interior Ministry in Yerevan.

About 10,000 members of the competent authorities were involved in the operation.

As a result of concerted action, according to preliminary data, over 816 kg of drugs were withdrawn from illegal turnover on the territory of the CSTO member states, including over 143 kg of marijuana, over 311 kg of narcotic plants, about 30 kg of hashish, over 20 kg of mephedrone, 2.6 kg of MDMA, 2.4 kg of heroin and 10.2 kg of psychotropic substances.

548 drug crimes were detected. 88 drug gangs were exposed. 347 people were brought to administrative responsibility for illegal drug operations. 88 wanted persons were detained for committing crimes in the field of drug trafficking. 430 Internet sites were exposed, through which the illegal information related to drugs was spread. Twenty firearms and 410 pieces of ammunition were seized from offenders.

In addition, the competent authorities of the CSTO member states conducted a number of international controlled deliveries. Several sophisticated channels for smuggling controlled drug compounds were uncovered and suppressed, and 3 highly productive and well-equipped drug laboratories were dismantled. By joint efforts, a large transnational organized criminal community was exposed.

Authorized representatives of the CSTO member states in the Operational Directorate of the ICS visited the “Meghri” checkpoint on the Armenian-Iranian border, where they learned about the practices of anti-drug activities of the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service of Russia in the Republic of Armenia and Armenian customs authorities. They exchanged best practices in drug smuggling detection and operationally relevant information.

Soldiers of the special unit of the Armenian Interior Ministry's Police Department, which is part of the CSTO CRRF formations of special forces, demonstrated effective methods of detaining (neutralizing) armed drug couriers.

In the course of the operation, inspection equipment, strike drones and search dogs were widely used.

During the operation implementation, operational cooperation between the financial monitoring and drug control services was organized. As a result, suspicious financial transactions involving the transit of money, the use of "drop" bank cards and cryptocurrency transactions worth more than 750 million rubles by more than 300 individuals were identified, demonstrating the focus of the "anti-money laundering" system of the CSTO member states on destroying the economic component of the drug business and searching for criminal assets.

On the “margins” of the event, a roundtable discussion was held on countering drug traffickers using modern information and communication technologies and the smuggling of controlled drugs. A UNODC representative made a report on the drug situation in Afghanistan. Observers from the People's Republic of China reported on the drug situation in their country.

Thanks to the clear and coordinated work of the national interagency headquarters of the CSTO member states and observers, the overall criminal situation in the regions where the operation was conducted has significantly improved.

The operation contributed to resolving practical tasks to further improve the mechanisms of anti-drug cooperation and stabilize the situation in the regions of collective security.

New large-scale joint steps to ensure anti-drug security in the CSTO area of responsibility have been planned.



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