Drug trafficking represents a major challenge for the Islamic Republic of Iran. The geographical location of the country, particularly its 1,923 km long porous eastern border with Afghanistan - the world's largest illicit opium and cannabis producer - and Pakistan, has turned it into a major transit country for illicit drugs.
Today cocaine is being smuggled through every country in the region, according to a UNODC report released in October 2008. The report revealed at least 50 tons of cocaine from Latin America are entering West Africa every year, en route to Europe where the drug sells for almost US$ 2 billion on the streets
Mexican DTOs based in the Northern California HIDTA region dominate illicit drug transportation and wholesale distribution in the area as well as distribution from the area to drug markets throughout the country. They also cultivate very large quantities of cannabis in the region and control methamphetamine and marijuana production operations in the Central Valley of California. These organizations, based largely on familial ties, typically consist of members residing in California, Mexico, and other cities throughout the United States.
Since the 1970's, Colombia has been home to some of the most violent and sophisticated drug trafficking organizations in the world. What started as a small cocaine smuggling business has, in the last thirty years, blossomed into an enormous multi-national cocaine empire. Traffickers today have enough capital under their control to build sophisticated smuggling equipment, such as a high tech submarine that was recently discovered by the Colombian National Police.
Highlighting the particular threat to security posed by drugs, Mr. Fedotov noted: "The farm-gate value of opium production alone in Afghanistan is equivalent to around 10 per cent of the country's GDP. Opium, therefore, forms a significant part of the Afghan economy and provides funding to terrorism and the insurgency, while fuelling corruption. This situation cannot last forever. The time has come for a more result-oriented response to this challenge; a response which is based on concrete action and shared responsibility."
Global abuse and accessibility of drugs have become increasingly complex, as trafficking routes have become shorter, more diverse and more easily traversed. The drug trade involves growers, producers, couriers, suppliers, dealers and users and affects people in almost all of our 190 member countries.
Many gangs have developed or strengthened relationships with transnational criminal organizations and DTOs. These relationships provide gangs with access to international sources of supply for illicit drugs that they commonly distribute in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Many gangs are also increasing their level of sophistication; a number have become profit-generating enterprises with global connections and advanced communications capabilities.
"Because there is such a high demand for black market marijuana in the United States, people are absolutely desperate to get it over the border. This often results in violence, uses up valuable border security resources, and puts billions of dollars into the cartels. These harmful and devastating ramifications are a direct result of marijuana prohibition in the United States. The people being recruited by the drug trafficking organizations probably think it’s such a small amount they won’t really be punished if they get caught.
Drug trafficking is a multibillion-dollar industry that is conducted worldwide. Controlled substances are frequently used as a means to fund terrorist activities.
Each year, according to the United Nations office of Drug Control, there are some 185 million illicit drug users around the world. Of that 185 million, 25 million drug users reside within the borders of the United States.