Abu Dhabi: A global operation by the International Security Alliance (ISA), a working group of eleven Ministries of Interior, Justice and Home Affairs, has uncovered the vast scale of transnational drug trafficking and dealt a serious blow to organised criminal groups by seizing illicit narcotics estimated to be worth more than US$750 million and the arrest of 597 suspects worldwide.
The ISA and the Police Community of the Americas (Ameripol) led operation, which was concluded on the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, saw participation from 22 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe and Latin America, with a common aim to disrupt transnational illicit drug trafficking networks and develop new methods to monitor and control flows of various illicit drugs being trafficked by air, land and sea routes.
A two-month long extensive collaboration generated a new batch of intelligence, allowing Member States of the ISA and its partners at Ameripol to conduct thorough investigations of transnational illicit drug trafficking flows and networks.
The global operation resulted in seizure of more than 55 tonnes of various illicit drugs, which are estimated to be worth more than US$750 million and arrests of 597 suspects around the world.
The operation witnessed participation from member states of the ISA - Bahrain, France, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain and the UAE, in addition to Ameripol countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay, Peru.
More illicit drugs seizures and arrests are expected as part of ongoing investigations and coordination between various participants of the operation.
Speaking about the operation, Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, and Chair of the National Council Against Drugs, stated that continuous efforts are made to confront the scourge of drugs in accordance with strategies and plans to protect society and enhance its security and stability, pointing out to the importance of international cooperation to enhance the means of protection and combat drugs and their promoters.
He added that the evolving nature of today's criminal organisations demands a sophisticated and coordinated response from law enforcement authorities, and this is what the operation led by the International Security Alliance demonstrated.
According to Lt. Gen. Sheikh Saif, combating transnational crimes requires harmonious international action and joint coordination in order to enhance the security of societies and towards a more secure world, and today we are sending a clear message to international criminal groups that successful cooperation between international law enforcement agencies is something that can be achieved. He stressed the commitment and determination of the UAE to support its partners in all countries of the world through cooperation and coordination between international law enforcement experts.
General Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Minister of Interior of Bahrain, hailed the remarkable security operation that included exchanging information with a professional approach. He noted that the operation reflects the potential of the International Security Alliance and the significance of security cooperation and coordination.
General Sheikh Rashid highlighted that the ISA and Ameripol led operation asserts the importance of the alliance and exchange of information and advanced expertise between member countries as the ultimate way to counter various security threats and reinforce joint efforts to promote regional stability and the protection of international security and peace.
The Minister of Interior thanked Lt. Gen. Sheikh Saif for his remarkable and comprehensive security initiative and the support provided to the ISA General Secretariat in Abu Dhabi. He said Lt. Gen. Sheikh Saif's support represents a security vision and a complete understanding of security incidents and developments and their regional and international implications.
Matteo Piantedosi, Minister of Interior of Italy, endorsed the joint operation as an opportunity to investigate the phenomenology of the criminal activities in question from a wider point of view.
"A significant increase in the number of this type of crime was registered, with a relative surge in operating activities throughout the Italian territory. The possibility for our national security system to share views, in such a delicate moment, with countries which cooperation in the field of fight against drug trafficking has not yet reached the desired levels of collaboration and mutual growth, has enabled us to lay the foundations of renewed international collaboration and increase both at a technical and operational level the possibility of reaching environments that have not been fully explored yet," the Italian Minister of Interior said.
Dr. Andrei Augusto Passos Rodrigues, Executive Secretary of Ameripol and Director-General of Brazilian Federal Police, commended the efficiency of cooperation between Ameripol and the International Security Alliance.
"Today, on the International Day of Against Drug Trafficking, Ameripol and the International Security Alliance have taken an important step in the fight against transnational organised crime. Through an unprecedented alliance between the police forces of twelve Latin American countries and the countries of the International Security Alliance, we launched simultaneous actions that involved the seizure of more than US$750 million in seized drugs, and the arrest of 597 suspects around the world, related to the origin of drugs in Latin America, the countries of transit and destination of the drug (in Africa, Europe and Middle East). The success of this global operation demonstrates that international cooperation is the best weapon at the disposal of countries and the police forces in the fight against transnational organised crime," Dr. Rodrigues added.
The Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic also appreciated the activities of the ISA in the field of combating international organised crime and drug trafficking. According to the Slovak authorities, the operation clearly showed that the fight against these types of crime requires international cooperation.
The operation was coordinated by the International Security Alliance Secretariat, which is hosted by the UAE. The ISA was established in February 2017, by France and the UAE, with the ultimate objective of protecting the safety of global communities and the prosperity of partner countries by combating organised and transnational crimes.
As of today, the alliance gathers representatives from the Ministries of Interior, Justice and Home Affairs of Bahrain, France, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain and the UAE.
The main mission of the ISA is to promote internal security cooperation among its member ministers, in particular with regards to the following strategic priorities: preventing and combating transnational organised crime, preventing and combating forms of radicalisation, and any crimes affecting the security of international