For information only - not an official document
18 May 2020
Major tramadol trafficking network dismantled under
INCB's 'Operation Trance'
VIENNA, 18 May (United Nations Information Service) - The International Narcotics Control Board's (INCB) 'Operation Trance', together with the authorities of India, announced the dismantling of a criminal network trafficking psychoactive substances via the darknet earlier this year. The Narcotics Control Bureau of India, working closely with national agencies and international partners, identified the darknet operation following a two-month surveillance effort. Using information from 'Operation Trance', 135 kg of psychoactive substances and hundreds of thousands of tramadol and other psychoactive tablets were seized, four suspects were arrested, and, for the first time, a darknet vendor operating in India was dismantled.
The INCB operation, which concluded in January, involved 74 governments as well as Interpol, the Oceania Customs Organization (OCO), the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the World Customs Organization (WCO). Governments reported seizures of ketamine and tramadol totalling nearly 480 kg and 958,000 tablets trafficked via 35 countries. In addition to the seizures and arrests, 'Operation Trance' helped identify the trafficking practices of criminal organizations exploiting the flow of packages through international post, air cargo, express mail, and courier services.
"The INCB's 'Operation Trance', with its focus on trafficking using mail and express courier shipments, has provided our partners with insights that will prove especially useful under the changing market conditions driven by the world's response to the COVID-19 pandemic," said INCB President Cornelis de Joncheere. "The increase in express consignments and home-delivery of goods during the global lockdown provides opportunities for traffickers to hide drug consignments in the greater volume of legitimate small-package transport streams. 'Operation Trance' provides actionable information that governments and other INCB partners can use during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond."
For several years, the Board has noted increased trafficking in, and non-medical use of, ketamine and tramadol. While neither are internationally scheduled substances, they are controlled at the national level in many countries, including India. In light of this, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has, in several of its resolutions, encouraged governments to step up controls to counter trafficking in these substances.
Under its Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances (GRIDS) Programme, INCB offers Member States enhanced opportunities for the global exchange of information on the trafficking of psychoactive substances not under international control through the Board's 'Project Ion' and its global 'OPIOIDS Project'.
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