DPRK illegal drug production on the wane?

According to the AFP:

North Korea seems to have largely ended state-sponsored drug trafficking but private groups are smuggling methamphetamine across the border with China, the United States said Thursday.

In an annual report submitted to Congress, the US State Department said “no confirmed instances of large-scale drug trafficking” involving the North Korean state or its nationals were reported in 2010.

It said there was not enough information to confirm that the communist state was no longer involved in drug manufacture and trafficking “but if such activity persists, it is certainly on a smaller scale”.

This is the eighth consecutive year that there were no known instances of large-scale methamphetamine or heroin trafficking to either Japan or Taiwan with direct North Korean state involvement, it said in the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.

“The continued lack of public reports of drug trafficking with a direct DPRK (North Korea) connection suggests that such high-profile drug trafficking has either ceased or been sharply reduced,” the report said.

The report said, however, that trafficking of methamphetamines along the North Korea-China border continues and press reports about such activities have increased in comparison to last year.

“These reports… point to transactions between DPRK traffickers and large-scale, organised Chinese criminal groups” in locations along the border.

“Press reports of continuing seizures of methamphetamine trafficked to organised Chinese criminals from DPRK territory suggest continuing manufacture and sale of DPRK methamphetamine,” the report said.

This and continued trafficking in counterfeit cigarettes and currency suggests that “enforcement against organized criminality in the DPRK is lax”, it added.

The article does not state which State Department report these quotes come from so if any readers are aware, place let me know.

However, coming out the same day, the Phillipines complains they are seeing plenty of North Korean-made drugs.  According to the Choson Ilbo:

Methamphetamines made in North Korea are flooding the Asia-Pacific region including the Philippines, officials say. In an interview with Reuters last Friday, Dionisio Santiago, the director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, said an influx of methamphetamines from clandestine North Korean factories cut the street price of the drug by half, the news agency said.

“In the last few months, we’ve noticed methamphetamine prices going down to as much as 3 million pesos (US$68,000) per kilo from a high of 6-8 million pesos,” it quoted Santiago as saying. Santiago added that the country’s drug enforcement agency last Wednesday seized a Vietnam-registered ship that attempted to enter Subic Bay with 700 kg of what is believed to be North Korean methamphetamines worth US$100 million.

“Based on our initial investigation, the Vietnam-registered boat which unloaded the methamphetamines shipment had made port calls in North Korea,” Santiago said. “We’ve been informed by our counterparts abroad that North Korea has become a steady source of methamphetamines in the Asia and Pacific region.”

Previous stories about the DPRK’s production of illegal drugs can be found here.

Read the full story here:
US says N.Korea’s state drug trafficking on wane

N.Korean Meth ‘Flooding Asia-Pacific’
Choson Ilbo


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