The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), in partnership with Moldova's Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), successfully concluded the "Preventing and Countering Online Drug Sales in the Republic of Moldova" workshop. This training, held at the General Police Inspectorate in Chișinău from November 7 to 9, 2023, targeted 27 national drug-related investigating officers and specialists in online drug trafficking enforcement.
The participants represented a broad spectrum of Moldovan law enforcement, including senior and investigation officers from several Police Inspectorates of the Chișinău Police Department. The training also saw attendance from specialists in combating illicit drug trafficking from the Anti-Drug Directorate and the Analytical Investigation Directorate of the National Investigation Inspectorate. Additionally, lecturers from the "Stefan cel Mare" Academy and prosecutors from the General Prosecutor's Office and the Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases were among the attendees, reflecting a multidisciplinary approach to the issue.
Trafficking and illicit drug use are becoming increasingly complex. Criminals have grown more professional and adaptable, utilizing social media, encrypted communications, the internet, and the darknet to increase drug supply. This trend necessitates an advanced level of vigilance and capability among law enforcement. The agenda covered a range of topics, from Dark Web investigation, cryptocurrency, and Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) techniques, to controlled delivery techniques and the handling of informants. A representative of the World Customs Organization Regional Intelligence Liaison Office also provided an overview of the CAVA (Vehicle Concealments Library) tool to support law enforcement officers in detecting concealments in vehicles. Participants engaged in hands-on exercises, including a tabletop exercise on intelligence planning.
Ms. Alina Rogojina, Chief Officer of the External Assistance Coordination and Project Management Directorate in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, underscored the importance of the initiative, stating: "Human resource is the most important element for the Ministry of Interior Affairs. For this reason, the contribution of external partners is essential for us to develop our professional capacities. We aim to be more productive and efficient to address new challenges, which include new ways of operating in the context of combating illicit drug trafficking and all organized crime."
Participants provided positive feedback on the training, highlighting the importance of specialized training to respond to emerging threats in the Republic of Moldova. As a next step, UNICRI will continue its partnership with the MIA by delivering ongoing training to law enforcement agencies, preparing them for the rapidly evolving regional security landscape. Additionally, UNICRI is in the process of finalizing a comprehensive needs assessment related to the drug supply chain in Moldova, covering production, trafficking, and distribution. This assessment will be validated with the MIA by the end of the year and will include a set of tailored recommendations.