Home > News > World
Wednesday August 6, 2014 MYT 10:00:34 AM
Wednesday August 6, 2014 MYT 10:01:45 AM
by edith honan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States hopes to expand a two-year-old effort against organised crime in West Africa to include wildlife trafficking and money laundering - activities that it says exploits some of the same networks long used for drug trafficking.
William Brownfield, the Assistant U.S. Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, said on Tuesday that his office is ready to take "the next step" in its anti-drug efforts when U.S. officials convene a high-level meeting later this week with 15 west African countries. "The same organisations that move drugs and people and firearms and doing basic smuggling are moving rhino horn and elephant tusk and other products that come from illicit wildlife trafficking," Brownfield said, speaking on the sidelines of a major African summit taking place in Washington.
While there might not be a "complete overlap," criminals are sharing their networks, including corrupted customs, immigration and financial regulatory officials, he said.
The anti-trafficking effort was launched in 2011 with the cooperation of Colombia, Brazil and five Western European nations - United Kingdom, France, Spain Germany and Portugal - along with an array of U.S. law enforcement agencies.
The programme, which has so far cost around $100 million, has helped draft laws and regulations, as well as share financial intelligence, such as identifying suspicious transactions and unexplained sums of money.
The focus has been on stemming the flow of narcotics. Drug traffickers, frustrated by anti-drug efforts focused on North and South America, are seen to have shifted their operations through parts of West Africa, and countries like Guinea Bissau.
Brownfield, who previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, said he was not thinking of wildlife trafficking as a "top priority trafficking issue" when he took his current post.
He said the issue is now viewed as an extremely high priority.
(Reporting by Edith Honan; editing by Andrew Hay)
West Africa states to adopt anti-piracy code, maybe this month - IMO
South Africa national airline to continue operating in West Africa
West Africa Ebola toll rises to more than 2,400 dead
Venezuela rejects U.S. criticism of its anti-drug efforts
Death toll in West Africa Ebola epidemic rises to 1,427 - WHO
Syria says U.S.-led strikes have not weakened Islamic State
France's Hollande warns against isolating Ebola-hit Guinea
For world's police, force of the law meets the law of force
U.N. torture watchdog urges U.S. crackdown on police brutality
Croatia PM cancels Belgrade trip over freeing of war crimes suspect
Ladies, time to stand up and fight for your man
Dasha: My dad, my idol
Victory sends Marseille marching four points clear
Tate and Minecraft create virtual worlds inspired by art
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)