Supporting intelligence sharing and interdiction of dangerous substances in the postal system within West Africa

CASABLANCA, 3 August 2019 - The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) participated in the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) Joint Security Capacity Building Workshop in West Africa to strengthen capacity to address trafficking in dangerous substances through the international postal network. The workshop, held from 31 July to 3 August 2019 in Casablanca, included postal and customs officers from 13 West African Governments.

Twenty-four (24) officers from Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leon, and Togo attended the four-day training event, which brought together international trainers from the UPU, WCO, and INCB. INCB highlighted the challenges posed by the increase of trafficking of non-medical synthetic opioids, in particular tramadol, throughout Africa and trained officers to identify, collect and share intelligence on the sources and distribution of related substances. Interdiction methods and safe handling of emerging dangerous substances, such as fentanyls and analogues, currently trafficked through the postal and express courier streams was also delivered to the investigators.

Photo: INCB trained officers on features of the IONICS platform using its rapid training approach

Dawn Wilkes, UPU Security Programme Manager, stressed the importance to strengthening coordination efforts and information sharing mechanisms to sustainably respond to, and communicate threats of, dangerous substances in the international postal stream. Ms. Wilkes stated, "the ability for stakeholders within the region to learn from international experts as well as regional counterparts is an integral step in ensuring the integrity of the postal supply chain." Officers also received practical information and materials to safely respond to the threats and risks posed by these dangerous substances and were trained on the effective use of the IONICS communication platform to send and receive intelligence and alerts that support domestic and international trafficking investigations.

Participants stressed the need of increased collaborative efforts for practical information and intelligence exchange with regional and international agencies and enhanced capacity building to effectively detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to the threats posed by freight forwarding of non-schedule substances, such as new psychoactive substances (NPS), non-medical synthetic opioids like tramadol and fentanyl-related substances. INCB experts highlighted the importance of global intelligence sharing tools available to the West African region, such as those provided by the WCO, UPU and INCB, to counter the trafficking of these dangerous substances.

Photo: Officers learned how to communicate intelligence via the communication platform IONICS

The Board's global OPIOIDS Project and Project ION support Governments' capacity to respond to changing trafficking, online marketing and sales patterns of NPS, non-medical synthetic opioids and fentanyl-related substances and their precursors, by building trust, improving communication and facilitating information sharing that interdict distribution of these dangerous substances. The event was part of a series of trainings of postal officers and practical outcome of the UPU-INCB cooperative agreement signed in May 2018.


Click here to learn more about the OPIOIDS Project
Click here to learn more about the Project ION
Click here to learn more about INCB Precursor Controls

©1995-2021 International Narcotics Control Board