Surface-web training to identify suspicious postings of precursor chemicals and equipment used for illicit drug manufacturing

Implementing Organization
INCB
Description

The initiative is aimed at enhancing the capabilities of regulatory and law enforcement officials in monitoring the Internet (surface web) for identifying new trafficking trends and investigating suspicious online activities related to precursor chemicals and illicit drug manufacturing equipment. The initiative comprises capacity building measures (through development of guidance materials and in person trainings), as well as operational support (through targeted international operations and facilitating related investigations).

Background
Accomplishments to Date

Investigations into Internet-facilitated precursor trafficking conducted since 2017 have resulted in the seizure of nearly 10 tons of acetic anhydride in India, the largest seizure of the substance in the country in the last two decades. Following investigations using the intelligence packages developed under INCB Operation Acronym, also a seizure of ephedrine was made in India in 2022. 

24 officials from regulatory and law enforcement agencies from 14 countries of Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America were trained in 2023.

Project Activities

Training for regulatory and law enforcement officials on: Internet as a source of identification of precursor and equipment trafficking trends, OSINT tools, carrying out online monitoring in a secure and systematic manner, cybercrime investigation including elementary cross-border cooperation related to postings involving chemicals and equipment. 

Online monitoring of suspicious postings, preparation of intelligence packages and their dissemination to Governments, support for investigations and for voluntary cooperation measures with private sector partners (B2B companies, social media companies, other online service providers (OSPs) to prevent the trafficking of synthetic drugs.

Global Level Outcomes
  1. Improved capacity to monitor the Internet (surface-web) securely, investigate identified suspicious postings, enter into voluntary cooperation arrangements with relevant private sector partners. 
  2. Increased international cooperation to support cross-border cybercrime investigations related to precursors and equipment.
National Level Outcomes
  1. Increase in monitoring of the Internet at the national level and investigation into cases along with voluntary cooperation agreements with private sector partners to prevent the trafficking of synthetic drugs (B2B companies, social media companies, other OSPs)

Current State Participation

34 countries (Afghanistan, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Costa Rica, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Iraq, Italy, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Myanmar, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Thailand, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Vietnam and Yemen) and four international organizations (CICAD, INTERPOL, European Commission – OLAF and WCO) participated in Operation Acronym, an international operation aimed at preventing precursor trafficking through the Internet (surface-web). 

Officials from 14 countries (China, Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, United States of America and United Arab Emirates) participated in the first ever training on this subject. Some countries have also directly been supported for investigation.

Contact

incb [dot] precursors [at] un [dot] org (incb[dot]precursors[at]un[dot]org)

Current State Participants
Afghanistan
Armenia
Bosnia & Herzegovina
China
Costa Rica
Czechia
Denmark
France
Germany
Hungary
India
Iraq
Italy
Latvia
Lebanon
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Myanmar (Burma)
Philippines
Poland
South Korea
Russia
Senegal
Sierra Leone
Slovakia
South Africa
Spain
Tanzania
Thailand
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United States
Vietnam
Yemen
Netherlands
Nigeria