After the decline in the period of the covid pandemic, in 2021 there was a surge in drug seizures in Italy: from the 59 tons found in 2020, it rose to 91 tons in 2021, with a percentage increase of 54.04%. This is what emerges from the 2022 Annual Report of the Central Directorate for Drug Services of the Department of Public Security. A figure that, we read, “due to a significant increase in seizures of cocaine and cannabis derivatives, represents the fourth highest result since 2000 to date. If we exclude the years 2014, 2017 and 2018, marked by particular and contingent elements of characterization, in the last 40 years such a consistent result had never been achieved. For all the main narcotic substances, compared to the previous year, largely positive percentage increases were observed; in absolute terms, this is about 32 tons of narcotics more than in 2020, which bring the overall figure of seizures beyond the ten-year average threshold (about 88 tons), reversing a negative trend that continued from 2019 “. contrast to drug trafficking, in general, “continues to be affected, in some respects, by the pandemic crisis – the Report emphasizes – anti-drug operations decrease compared to the previous year (-6.53%) and complaints to the Judicial Authority (-4.70%), even if the differences are less significant than the previous year. For anti-drug operations, 21,318 were carried out in 2021. The figure is substantially in line with the average value of the last ten years (22,967 per year), while for the number of complaints, a total of 30,083, despite being the lowest in the last six years, it is only slightly below the average threshold in the ten-year series (32,973 per year) ”. Cannabis confirms the most seized drug in Italy Cannabis is confirmed, also in 2021, the most seized drug in our country, representing, alone, over two thirds (67.7 tons) of all the drugs identified (91 tons) by the Forces of Police. A figure that demonstrates the consistently high level of demand in Italy. Trafficking and ‘demand’ returned to pre-Covid levels, online drug dealing is growing With the end of the emergency linked to the pandemic, drug trafficking has now returned to the business volumes of past years and, in parallel, with the return to a social life without more restrictions, drug ‘demand’ among consumers has also returned to pre-Covid levels. “2021 continued to be affected by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which had a strong impact on citizens’ way of life , for the implications on the public health system and for the restrictions adopted by the Health Authority “. Criminal organizations, however, it is emphasized, have identified compensation tools and mechanisms, managing to fully reactivate, already in 2020, their illicit trafficking, through various measures and corrections, and to pour into the consumer markets quantities of drugs comparable to periods prior to the pandemic “. In particular, “the criminal network, demonstrating extraordinary resilience, has been able to adapt its logistical and organizational structures to the new economic and social dynamics determined by the crisis; 2021, in fact, saw a strong and growing recovery in drug imports in storage places and, above all, towards countries of final destination “. In 2021, seizures of ‘rape drugs’ tripled Among synthetic drugs in Italy, records a boom for the seizures of the so-called ‘rape drug’ which have tripled compared to 2020. “The balance of seizures of liquid substances is increasing compared to those concerning the quantities in dose or powder – reads the report – they amount to approximately 90 liters of Gbl seizures and more than 5 liters of Ghb, two powerful dissociative sedatives, sadly known for their use as ‘rape drugs’. These are substances that have been known for some time, but which, in 2021, returned to the headlines for the discovery of a vast phenomenon of drug dealing perpetrated through online sales sites, which led to a tripling of seizures compared to the previous year ” thanks to police operations, conducted using the use of controlled deliveries and undercover operations. Worrying is a new form of ‘do-it-yourself’ delinquent entrepreneurship, which allows you to start profitable drug dealing activities, using the potential offered by web thanks to the ease of access and ‘anonymity’. Furthermore, synthetic drugs are very powerful, small quantities are enough to package hundreds of doses; a simple ‘click’ is enough to create a digital shop. It is possible to place electronic orders and receive the narcotic at home, through postal shipments “, underlines the Report. A special mention is reserved this year to social networks. “Many of the instant messaging applications, allowing anonymous communications, even encrypted and automatic deletion, have become very popular tools in the business of dealing – he explains – and alongside, on the open web, drug transactions, which take place, thanks to the use of particular ‘anonymization’ and delocalization software, in the deep web and in the dark web “. ‘Ndrangheta strengthens hegemonic role in drug trafficking” In drug trafficking, the hegemonic role of the Calabrian’ Ndrangheta is strengthened, which continues to represent one of the most powerful and dangerous criminal organizations in the world. It is certainly the Italian mafia organization characterized by the greatest expansion, both nationally and internationally, and certainly the most influential in the trafficking of cocaine from South America and the main temporary storage areas in Europe “. The ‘ndrangheta,” thanks to the presence of its own representatives and operational brokers, established in the production sites and in the temporary storage areas of drugs, not only on the national territory, but also at European level, continues to play a primary role in the management of the world traffic of narcotic substances, a a real player capable of delocalizing its illicit activities worldwide – the report underlines – The availability of huge capital of illicit origin and a strong ability to manage the various segments and traffic junctions have allowed it, over time, to consolidate an important role in international drug trafficking, to which other ret criminals refer to the supply of drugs to be destined for consumer markets “. Among other ‘mafias’, ‘cosa nostra’ is catching up in drug trafficking, although it remains “in a position of subordination to other mafia-type organizations, from Calabria and Campania”. Lazio, the Roman context and the other provinces: these are “well-structured associations, often on a family basis, which, for some time, have played a leading role in the management of drug trafficking. In the capital, these criminal realities are flanked by projections of the historical Sicilian, Calabrian and Campania mafias, as well as foreign ones, attracted by the possibility of reinvesting the capital accumulated through their illicit trafficking, which operate with a ‘silent’ strategy, in the intent to blend in and make the law enforcement action of the Police Forces more difficult ”reads the annual report of the Central Directorate for Anti-Drug Services of the Department of Public Security.
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