Skip to main content

UN General Assembly Synthetic Drugs Resolution, Jordan Strikes Drug Smugglers in Syria, More... (12/19/23)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1201)
Consequences of Prohibition
Politics & Advocacy

Presumed drug gangs kill a dozen people at a Christmas party in Mexico, Peruvian coca farmers are blamed for killing an indigenous leader, and more.

The Middle Eastern amphetamine Captagon. (

UN General Assembly Adopts Resolution on Challenge of New Synthetic Drugs, But Not Without Some Squabbling. The UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution, "Enhancing action at the national, regional and international levels to address the global public health and security challenges posed by synthetic drugs," but not without having to deal with demands from Mexico for a more balanced document (the resolution largely depended on language from the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

Mexican representative Alicia Guadeloupe Buenrostro Massieu introduced two draft amendments, with the first saying that addressing the challenges posed by synthetic drugs is a priority requiring balanced policies grounded in health and human rights but that the resolution failed to refer to the only resolution on the subject passed by the Assembly, which underscored the importance of holistically addressing the drug problem in all countries through humane and effective drug policies. That omission was "unacceptable" and adding it would "reflect the vision of a majority of Member States."

The second amendment would add a reference to drug distribution in illicit markets in consumer countries, underscoring that the world drug problem goes beyond the borders of producing and trafficking countries -- criminal networks set prices and generate interest for the illicit economy, she said, and the topic must be addressed.

Numerous countries opposed the amendments, with the representative of the Russian Federation noting that, if adopted, the first amendment would deprive the document of its consensus status. Adding to that, the representative of Egypt said it constitutes an act of coercion exercised by a few delegations to bestow legitimacy on the only voted resolution on countering the world drug problem.

But the Assembly passed the first amendment on a vote of 75-26 with 36 abstentions before rejecting the second amendment by a vote of 19-36 with 82 abstentions.

Jordan Strikes Iran-Linked Drug Smugglers in Southern Syria. Jordan conducted air raids on Syrian hideouts of what it said were Iran-backed drug smugglers in retaliation for a large-scale smuggling operation, the army said Monday.

The army said it had been confronted by dozens of infiltrators from Syria with links to Iranian-backed militias who crossed into Jordan with rocket launchers, anti-personnel mines, and explosives.

Regional intelligence sources said Jordanian jets hit the home of a leading drug dealer in Salkhad in Sweida province, with other strikes hitting smuggler hideouts in Deraa province. It was not known if there were any casualties. The two provinces border Jordan.

Since descending into civil war in 2011, Syria has become the center of a multi-billion regional drug trade, and Jordan is a key transit route from there to the oil-rich Gulf States for an amphetamine known as captagon, which is manufactured in Syria. The Syrian government denies any involvement in the trade, and Iran says allegations it is involved are elements of Western plots against the country.

A Dozen Killed in Central Mexico Christmas Party Massacre. Presumed cartel gunmen in the Guanajuato town of Salvatierra attacked a Christmas party early Sunday, killing at least a dozen people, and four more people were killed in a shooting in the city of Salamanca.

The state has been the scene of extended bloody turf battles between the Jalisco Cartel and local gangs affiliated with the Sinaloa Cartel. Guanajuato has for several years now had the highest number of homicides in the country.

Meanwhile, in the Yucatan Peninsula coastal resort of Tulum, three men were killed and four more wounded in an attack on a bar that same day. Local prosecutors said the killings "may have been a dispute involving retail drug sales, and for that reason the safety of the public and that of our visitors, was never at risk" -- even though tourists in Tulum have been caught in the crossfire before, with two tourists killed while eating at a restaurant in 2021 when they got caught between rival drug gangs shooting at each other.

Peru Indigenous Leader Killed After Death Threats from Coca Growers. The Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest said Monday that Benjamin Flores Rios, leader of the Kakataibo Indigenous community, was killed in the early hours of the day at his home in the Ucayali region. Flores Rios had been a leader in the fight against the deforestation of the Amazon.

A week ago, the group said that Flores Rio had been on the receiving end of death threats from coca farmers encroaching on community lands. Coca is the plant from which cocaine is derived.

"Indigenous leaders are resisting the advance of drug traffickers who operate in their territories," Indigenous leader Herlin Odicio told reporters then.

Flores Rio is not the first indigenous leader killed in recent years. Last month, another indigenous leader was killed in the north for opposing logging, and the National Human Rights Coordination Committee says at least 30 environmental activists and social leaders. They are occurring in the Peruvian Amazon, a vast and remote area with limited state presence, and mostly go unpunished.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.