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25 February 2020, 18:25

Belarus, USA to step up joint efforts to combat illegal drug trade

MINSK, 25 February (BelTA) – The State Forensic Examination Committee of Belarus and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) under the U.S. Department of Justice signed a memorandum of cooperation in combating illegal drug trade, spokeswoman of the committee Anna Zhdanova told BelTA.

The document was signed by Acting Regional Director for the DEA Middle East Region Michael Nowacoski and Chairman of the State Forensic Examination Committee Andrei Shved.

The parties are set to exchange information about the sources of drugs, their analogues and precursors, methods of locating these sources, new designer drugs that are close to controlled substances, ways and methods of studying them, and new analytical equipment. The agencies will also establish cooperation in expert support for joint events aimed to reduce illegal drug trafficking via international channels.

It is expected that joint work will bear fruit in the near future and will enable specialists from the two countries to exchange best practices in carrying out forensic analysis of narcotic substances, which will increase effectiveness and efficiency of their work.

The DEA representatives in Russia already visited the Belarusian committee in August 2019. The visit of the acting regional director confirmed the countries' intention to advance cooperation. The DEA delegation was made familiar with laboratories for studying narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, their precursors and analogues, oil products, materials, and substances, as well as laboratories for ballistic tests (a shooting range and ballistic records).

The DEA representatives showed interest in the procedure for including new psychoactive substances in the list of controlled drugs in Belarus. Since its establishment, the State Forensic Examination Committee has proposed to add 225 substances to the national list of narcotics, psychotropic substances and their precursors. The committee annually carries out around 10,000 tests of narcotics.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is a United States law enforcement agency under the U.S. Department of Justice, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Marshals Service, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The DEA employs more than 4,600 special agents, 680 analysts, and 4,100 other staff, including chemists and diversion investigators. The DEA is meant to enforce legislation in drug trafficking and prosecute persons responsible for growing, producing, or distributing controlled substances in the territory of the United States.

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