GCC Declares War On Drug Trafficking

RIYADH: As part of a regional initiative to step up war on drugs, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Saudi Arabia, announced plans here yesterday to set up a major center to combat drug trafficking.

This center will help to map out future strategies for checking the drug trade, prevent transactions of dirty money, and foil drug trafficking attempts in the Gulf region.

“This regional center, called Gulf Center for Criminal Intelligence, is being set up with the help of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC),” said a statement released by the GCC General Secretariat. The center, it said, “would improve co-operation among the member states by exchange of information on drug trafficking.”

The center will be the first of its kind to check the growing social evil on the regional level. Its headquarters will be located in Doha. The center will be a focal point for regional law enforcement agencies, and staffed by representatives from GCC states. The statement said that Mohammed Al-Mulla, special representative of the UNODC to the GCC, has been helping the member states to set up the center.

“This regional office will be operational early next year,” said a spokesman of the GCC General Secretariat. In the past two months alone, Saudi police seized more than three tons of hashish and three million methamphetamine pills in raids, according to a Ministry of Interior report. Saudi officials also seized 10.6 kg of pure heroin from smugglers as part of the haul from several operations since early June.

The UNODC is also expanding its regional presence by opening a sub-regional office in Abu Dhabi next year as a center for the Gulf states and neighboring countries.

The UNODC is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime. Established in 1997, the UNODC operates in all regions of the world through an extensive network of field offices

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