Synthetic Drugs Detection Project - General Aviation Component

Implementing Organization
World Customs Organization in partnership with CARICOM IMPACS

The "general aviation" component aims to increase the quantity and quality of controls on private aircraft suspected of trafficking synthetic drugs.  
General aviation tends to have more relaxed regulatory controls and is less attended by law enforcement agencies. This flexibility makes it the right tool for organized crimes and drug traffickers. For several years, general aviation has been increasingly used by criminal groups in synthetic drugs trafficking.  
This initiative aims to provide competent authorities with an effective approach to carry out risk analysis and targeting on suspect aircrafts, improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the control, and strengthen their capacity in threat analysis through the collection of control data and exchange of operational information.   
This initiative also aims to improve the general aviation control standards of countries. 


The WCO Synthetic Drug Detection Project (SDDP) is currently implementing this General Aviation (GA) component in the Caribbean and Central America region, complementing the WCO-EU COLIBRI project that targeting on monitoring and control of general aviation in Latin America and West Africa 

Accomplishments to Date

The General Aviation component of the SDDP is currently being implemented in Mexico, Belize, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Saint Lucia. 

Project Activities

The General Aviation component of the SDDP includes the following phases:  

  1. In-country preparatory assessment of customs and law enforcement controls and individual officer competencies, including identification of administrations legally responsible for aircraft control; 
  2. Capacity-building program, including specific trainings on control methodology, risk analysis and targeting of suspicious flights, and train-the-trainers workshops to create national expertise;     
  3. Improve information exchange, in particular through the use of the WCO's secure geolocation platform for controls, enhanced threat analysis based on control data and OSINT; 
  4. Technical assistance including mentoring of trained units by accredited WCO and partner experts; and 
  5. A results-based operational evaluation including a global or regional operation; 
Global Level Outcomes
  1. Strengthen monitoring and control of general aviation and tackle the trafficking of synthetic drugs by this means of transport.
  2. Improve synthetic drug detection capabilities of national general aviation control teams.
  3. Improve knowledge of the country on the threat by developing capabilities to analyze global, regional and national trends in synthetic drug trafficking by general aviation. 
  4. Strengthen regional and global international cooperation and inter-agency coordination 
National Level Outcomes

Desired outcomes for participating countries are: 

  • Improving knowledge and skills in targeting suspicious flights carrying synthetic drugs.  
  • Improving inter-agency cooperation between police, customs and civil aviation forces to identify suspicious flights.  
  • Significantly increase the number of checks on international private flights.  
  • Implement regular reinforced control operations on this means of transport, targeting synthetic drugs and related offences linked to their trafficking (weapons and cash transport). 
  • An effective national risk and threat analysis capability. 

Current State Participants

An initial preparatory assessment phase is currently in progress in Mexico, Belize, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Saint Lucia. 


Sylvain Raymond Drugs Programme Manager World Customs Organization Sylvain [dot] raymond [at] wcoomd [dot] org (Sylvain[dot]raymond[at]wcoomd[dot]org) SDDP [at] wcoomd [dot] org (SDDP[at]wcoomd[dot]org)