Saying COVID-19 has turned the world upside down is a massive understatement. There are few aspects of life the virus has left untouched, including drug trafficking. Governments around the world have taken drastic measures to restrict travel, disrupting the supply chains of most drugs. Drug trafficking relies on legal trade to mask its illegal activities and on individuals being able to have reliable means of distribution and contact. Inevitably, the measures implemented by governments, including moderate and severe lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders have forced drug trafficking operations to evolve.
The United Nations recently released an extensive report, outlining their findings on how drug trafficking has evolved during COVID-19. Their report detailed the ways drug trafficking operations have shifted to meet the new challenges of the pandemic, and policy suggestions for combating these shifts. Outlined below is a quick look at some of the findings outlined in the U.N. report.
Restrictions in Air Travel Has Affected the Supply Chain of Certain Drugs
The pandemic has had varying impacts on drug trafficking. The main methods of transportation of drugs are by land, sea, or air. The research conducted by the U.N. found that the distribution of synthetic drugs—which are most likely to be trafficked by air—has been the most impacted by changing behavior during COVID-19. Given the worldwide restrictions on air traffic, it only makes sense that drugs trafficked primarily by air would have their supply chains fundamentally disrupted.
Countries with Limited Law Enforcement May Struggle to Allocate Resources to Counter-Narcotics Efforts
COVID-19 has required countries to make use of all available resources. However, the report by the U.N suggests that less prosperous nations with limited law enforcement have had to divert resources away from counter-narcotics efforts to address the spread of the virus, which could potentially benefit drug traffickers. As a result, the report suggests that COVID-19 has made drug trafficking less risky in certain countries.
Pandemic Measures Are Likely to Cause a Drop in Drug Prices
The U.N. report hypothesized that the COVID-19 restrictions enforced by many countries are likely causing a stockpiling of drugs. This hypothesis is supported by the decrease in drug prices reported by some of the major drug-producing countries. The U.N. suggests this reduction in drug prices could have extremely alarming consequences once restrictions are lifted, as it could lead to increased availability of cheap drugs and potentially, drug overdoses.
Cocaine Trafficking from Colombia has Shifted to Maritime Routes
Research by the U.N. and reports from Colombia suggest that large shipments of cocaine are still being trafficked, but by alternative means. Pre-pandemic, cocaine was mostly shipped by air and land. However, because of the restrictions, most of Colombia’s cocaine operations have shifted to sea routes. Additionally, recent large seizures of cocaine in European ports further suggest a significant shift in cocaine trafficking is taking place.
Contact a Louisiana Drug Defense Lawyer
In Louisiana, drug convictions can significantly impact your life. Drug convictions can make it challenging for individuals to gain employment, housing, and qualify for loans. If you are facing drug charges in Louisiana, it’s imperative to seek legal counsel from an experienced drug defense lawyer. An experienced attorney will examine the factors surrounding your case and develop a strong defense.
At the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm, we have the expertise and experience to best represent your case in court. Attorney Eric Johnson knows how to devise a winning defense strategy. With over 25 years of experience, he is a problem solver who is committed to thoroughly investigating your case. To schedule a free consultation, call (318) 377-1555 or complete our online contact form.