01 November 2014

Timor-Leste is in a Dangerous Situation from Drug Transactions and Weapons

ETLJB01/11/2014 From Fundasaun Mahein - Fundasaun Mahein has become aware of organized crime networks in Timor-Leste in the last couple of years. As explained in reports spanning from 2010 to 2014, these networks have taken many forms, and they have utilized Timor-Leste as a distribution hub. These networks have brought drugs here both in transit to neighboring countries and also for distribution here in Dili city.

FM’s monitoring has shown that the drugs have been transported by air, sea, and land from the directors of these organized crime networks. Lately, crime syndicates are utilizing import/export agencies to move goods in and out of Timor-Leste. Interestingly enough, security authorities in Timor-Leste have also detected a machine that is used to produce and process drugs from abroad before distribution. This seems to signify that Timor-Leste is not only a transit place but also a center for drug production as well.

These networks have involved Timorese citizens, foreign expatriates living here in Timor-Leste, and even tourists. The security authors have identified that theguilty foreign citizens are workers in private enterprises in Timor-Leste. The leaders of these enterprises have been deemed guilty of involvement in these networks. After being sent to preventative prison, some of these individuals have escaped and remain on the run, hidden from the public eye.

During the operation carried out in 2014, the security authorities captured the drug crimeboss on 5th September 2014 in Dili. This success was the result of a conjoint operation between the military and police information services. The operation continued on 14 October 2014, at which point security actors confiscated some drug items, such as methamphetamine (sabu-sabu), cocaine, and ecstasy from the residence of Suspect “A” in Dili. The individual is the same boss captured initially on September 5th, 2014.

During the operation, the security authorities found a machine that is used to producedrugs. These drugs are transferred here from abroad, processed with this machine, and then distributed both at home and abroad. The operation team also found pistol bullets in a box with security equipment at the suspect’s residence. However, these authorities just acquired the bullets and not the type of the pistol itself. FM suspects that weapons still exist, because these bullets are used for pistols and other weapons. These bullets have not yet indicated their place of origin. Where did they come from? Do they belong to old pistols that were distributed in 1999 by militias?  Or do they belong to the missing pistols ofthe 2006 police crisis?

FM views that Timor-Leste is now facing dangerous situation, because the authors of this organized crime are not only involved in drug transactions but also use illicitweapons. FM worries that these criminal activities could leave Timor-Leste in an uncontrolled situation. Criminal networks could even recruit security actors, who at present lack conditions, resources, and some necessities of life.

The organizedcrime networks are increasing, while security authorities face limitations in facilities, equipments, and finances. As stated by many national leaders through the media, detecting these criminal activities is not easy. Even more difficult and more complicated still is the process of acting against them.

Therefore, FM recommends that the government and the security authorities share intelligence information with other countries in the region regarding these organized crime networks that pose threats to each nation in the region.

FM recommends that the government and the security authorities fortify the control systems at airports, ports, and land borders, because these criminal networks are currently operating at through these points.

FM recommends that the government invest a greater percentage of intelligence services in certain areas, such as organized crime detection and criminal investigations.

FM recommends that the government accelerate its discussions regarding drug laws, so that they may be put into action by the Ministry of Justice. Source: http://www.fundasaunmahein.org/2014/10/16/timor-leste-iha-perigu-boot-ba-transaksaun-droga-no-kilat/

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