Drug trafficking continues to be the most dynamic criminal activity, involving the largest number of organised crime groups, and providing the greatest illicit revenue stream.

Countermeasures have forced smugglers to continuously adapt their techniques, triggering a quasi-Darwinian process of selection where only the fittest survive. Yet, not all law enforcement interventions in drug markets are necessarily targeted at organised crime. To the contrary, most policing activity impacts on drug consumers, low level operators or opportunists.

Where law enforcement agencies work together internationally, as they do in West Africa, continuous scrutiny is needed lest programmes designed to combat organised crime dwindle into skirmishes in the global war on drugs.

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