Cocaine smuggling foiled by intercontinental operation “Sports bag”

30 May 2017

In the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme, a two week international operational exercise, code named “Sports bag”, was conducted in the first quarter of 2017 to fight the phenomenon of "Rip on and Rip off" of cocaine shipments.  Twenty-one countries and 37 seaports in   Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe participated in this operation.

The modus operandi “Rip-on / Rip-off” is the contamination of legitimate containerized cargo with drugs, frequently packed in sports bags.

The strategic objectives of this operation focused on improving operational cooperation and information exchange among the participating countries and to promote practical cooperation among different law enforcement agencies and trade stakeholders.

In the framework of Operation ‘Sports bag’, 19 seizures with a total weight of 7.110 kilograms cocaine were reported.

The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme is currently operational in 41 countries at the global level; donor funding for additional 13 countries is available.

In 2016, the performance of the Port Control Units established in the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme resulted in the seizure of 38,1 tons of cocaine, 1,5 tons of heroin, 55 tons of drug precursors, 2,1 tons of cannabis products and  147 container loads of counterfeit goods, 404 million cigarettes and numerous seizures of spirits, stolen cars and other mis-declared goods (increasing revenue collection).