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Gangs from Africa, Iran muscle in on South East Asia drugs: U.N

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Drugs seized by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard

Drugs seized by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Leah Stiles.

30 November 2011 – The rising manufacture, trafficking and use of methamphetamines in East Asia and Southeast Asia pose a growing threat to public health and security in the region, as transnational organized criminal groups become increasingly involved, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said today.

In a report UNODC notes that most of the methamphetamines seized in the region are also manufactured there, reflecting burgeoning production over the past five years.

“The international community has taken its eye off the ball on illicit drug production and trafficking in East Asia,” said Gary Lewis, the representative of the UNODC Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific.

“The numbers are heading in the wrong direction. We must be pro-active on all fronts to assist the countries of the region to counteract these threats and prevent East and South-East Asia from again becoming a major illicit drugs hub.”

In addition to threats from regional organized crime groups, the report also draws attention to the growing reach and presence in Asia of transnational organized criminal groups from outside the region.

Methamphetamine trafficking by African groups has been officially reported by China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. Attempts by Iranian groups to establish illicit manufacturing operations for amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) in Japan, Malaysia and Thailand have also been reported, according to the study.

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