WACAM 1 Enforcement Operation: Guinea and the WCO combine their efforts to fight against customs offences and organized crime

01 December 2017

From 20 to 29 October 2017, Guinean Customs, the Air and Border Police, the Central Drug Enforcement Bureau, and the Water and Forests Gendarmerie have combined their efforts by participating to this first-ever enhanced enforcement operation targeting drug trafficking, trafficking of chemical precursors, money smuggling, trafficking in firearms and ammunition, and trafficking in wild species of fauna and flora.

The enforcement operation, which lasted ten days, resulted in twelve seizures. The seizures uncovered a substantial number of undeclared imports, excise duty fraud (relating to tobacco and mineral oils), infringements of the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), drug-related offences involving the internal concealment (in corpore) of 800 g of cocaine and the seizure of 129 kg of cannabis, infringements of legislation on the free movement of capital, and arms trafficking.

Initiated and organized by Guinean Customs with the valuable support of the WCO, the enforcement operation was carried out in the framework of the WCO-WACAM Project. The project, which is financed by Sweden, aims at providing support to Customs in its modernization efforts and in the implementation of its strategic plan, including the goals directly related to enforcement and stakeholder engagement.

"It is essential that we daily unite and coordinate our efforts to combat illicit trafficking and organized crime, phenomenon galvanized by globalization" declared the WCO Secretary General Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, who welcomed the active participation of all agencies involved in the fight against illicit trafficking and the outstanding results of that cooperation.

Well beyond the seizures made, the main objectives of the operation have been achieved. These objectives included the identification of private and legal persons involved in trafficking, the compilation of information relating to the status of illicit trafficking and organized crime on all targeted vectors, to evaluate and analyze this information in order to identify risk profiles and relevant and up to date targeting criteria, as well as to strengthen the cooperation and the exchange of information between enforcement bodies.

Prior to the enforcement operation, two training-of-trainers workshops had been organized by the WCO Secretariat gathering representatives of Customs, the police, and the water and forests gendarmerie. The first training focused on customs operational practices in the field of enforcement, while the second training focused on threat analysis, main patterns of fraud, risk management, targeting, profiling and airport criminality.

In addition to trainers and experts, the WCO made available its secure and encrypted communication tool CENcomm to facilitate the exchange of information and of operational data between services and units. A coordinated operational unit installed at the Guinean Customs headquarters for the duration of the operation, was in charge of ensuring the coordination and collaboration in terms of information exchange and operational decisions, as well as the development of daily news reports to all parties involved in the operation.