This week, October 12 and 13, the National Police formally launched an ambitious and ambitious project called “Development and use of innovative proactive tools to combat drug trafficking organisations in EU Member States” or “project FIDR.” The aim of this project is to offer Member States of the European Union an innovative and proactive method, up-to-date technical solutions to fight organised criminal groups dealing with drug trafficking and smuggling at national, regional and transnational levels.
Assessing the National Police Statistics, in 2019 Latvia identified the largest amount of cocaine – more than two tonnes in total. In addition, 600 kg of hashish, 200 kg of various synthetic drugs and 3 tonnes of anti-nuclear synthetic drugs have also been seized. In the past three years, four drug-manufacturing plantations have been discovered and destroyed by the State Police. This year alone has already seized quantities of unprecedented hashish – a total of 1000 kg.
Europol's assessment of the threat of serious and organised crime highlights the fact that illicit drug trafficking is becoming the largest criminal market in the EU. European countries, including Latvia, are mainly used as international transit routes for illicit drug trafficking. The interest of people in all types of drugs is only increasing, so there is an international common goal of combating the trafficking of cocaine, synthetic drugs, marijuana and heroin.
These facts are the reason why an immediate, aggressive and effective fight against drug trafficking is needed. It is necessary to introduce new instruments, methods that are competitive and to ensure that appropriate measures are taken against organised crime and the legal nature of their financial potential.
Latvia has taken the initiative and launched an ambitious international “project FIDR”. Latvia is the head of this project, but the accredited partners are the Lithuanian Criminal Police Board and the Estonian Police and Border Guard Administrations. Similarly, the project includes participants from both the US and other EU Member States in the law enforcement authority. The Project is supported by Europol with operational and analytical support as well as Eurojust in coordinating cross-border judicial cooperation.
The core objective of the Project is to introduce proactive and innovative methods and technical solutions, while at the same time saving people and financial resources to effectively fight organised criminal groups, including the identification and elimination of transit routes, the removal of batches of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, the identification and dismantling of money laundering mechanisms, and ultimately - the prosecution of the guilty persons under the statutory responsibility. Training of employees is also planned during the project.
In order to discuss the state of play of the project and the principles of cooperation, experts from law enforcement authorities from Latvia and neighbouring countries Lithuania and Estonia, as well as Europol, the US Drugs Agency, the Internal Security Investigation Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Germany, Poland, Norway, Netherlands, Finland and Switzerland, Belgium and Switzerland, were gathered in Latvia this week.
The Conference was revealed by the Chief of State Police Armands Ruks: “I am particularly pleased that Latvia will implement and work closely with colleagues from neighbouring countries and partner countries to implement such an important, ambitious and ambitious project as FIDR. We want to share experience and opportunities in the field of specific law enforcement methods in order to establish multilateral operational cooperation, which will enable Latvia and the State Police and international level to introduce a new instrument to combat organised crime. I am convinced that this project will make a general contribution to the targeted eradication process of drug trafficking organisations.
The Conference was conducted on site and, as far as possible, remote, in accordance with the epidemiological safety requirements currently established in the country.
“Development and application of innovative proactive tools to combat drug trafficking organisations in EU Members”, or “Project FIDR”, launched on the basis of the Grant Agreement concluded by the Internal Security Fund for the 2014-2020 programme, in the framework of police cooperation between the State Police and the European Commission. The deadline for the implementation of the project is two years and will expire in 2023. The budget envisaged is nearly 650 thousand Euro.