Drug cartels eye Jamaica as new hub for cocaine trafficking: INBC   2015-03-08 15:06:34            

KINGSTON, March 7 (Xinhua) -- As countermeasures on drug trafficking take effect in Latin America, drug cartels are choosing Jamaica as a new hub for cocaine trafficking, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said.

In its 2014 annual report released earlier this week, the United Nation-charted monitoring body said Jamaica remains the largest producer and exporter of cannabis in Central America and the Caribbean, and criminal groups now use the networks established originally for trafficking cannabis to traffic cocaine.

In Jamaica, drug trafficking are found at airports via drug couriers, baggage and air freight, and at seaports via containers, cargo vessels,fishing vessels and underwater canisters attached to ship hulls, according to the report.

Containerized cannabis and cocaine has been shipped in bulk to Europe and North America via Jamaica as ports around the island continue to experience serious problems including corruption, violence, intimidation and circumvention of legal controls, the report said.

The INCB further pointed out that illicit drugs are traded for money as well as guns, which fosters criminal activities.

In 2013, Jamaica had the Caribbean's second-highest reported murder rate behind Saint Kitts and Nevis, with 1,197 homicides, up 9 percent from 1,099 in 2012, according to the report.

Official statistics indicate that 1,230 kg of cocaine were seized in Jamaica in 2013, compared with 338 kg in 2012. The INCB said local organized groups and those from South and Central America continue to take advantage of the country's weak state and police structures.

Drug trafficking are worsened in Jamaica by corruption and the country's status as a popular tourist destination and major container trans-shipment point. Porous maritime borders, isolated beaches and coastal villages further facilitate the illegal trade, the report said.

Editor: Mengjie
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