Bensman cites a report from United Nations International Narcotics Control Board. It states:
The strengthened monitoring and control of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine shipments to North America helped to prevent the diversion of those substances in the region. However, trafficking networks have been exploring new ways to supply illicit methamphetamine laboratories in that region. It is believed that smuggling and diversion of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine from domestic distribution channels are now among the most common methods of supply. As orders for raw materials are brought under increasing scrutiny by authorities worldwide, traffickers have turned to placing orders with legitimate pharmaceutical companies for preparations containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, purportedly to be sent to developing countries. In many regions, controls over pharmaceutical preparations continued to be less stringent or even non-existent. Numerous cases of diversion and attempted diversion of ephedrine and
pseudoephedrine, often in the form of preparations,
were identified and reported to the Board. In those
cases, traffickers targeted the following countries in
- Bosnia and Herzegovina,
- Democratic Republic of the Congo,
- South Africa,
- United Arab Emirates,
- United Republic of
Africa remains a major area of diversion of precursors of amphetamine-type stimulants. At the same time, trafficking patterns in Africa stand in sharp contrast with the low number of seizures made by Governments in the region. In 2008, participants in Project Prism and in Operation Ice Block identified numerous suspicious shipments to Africa that were suspected of having Mexico as their final destination. In total, over 30 tons of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine were prevented from being diverted to or through Africa.
48. Organized criminal groups have made use of fictitious companies and falsified import authorizations and company documents for their trafficking activities. Ethiopia, in particular, was targeted by traffickers who attempted to consign two shipments of pseudoephedrine and one shipment of ephedrine totalling 12.5 tons. The shipments, which involved falsified import licences, were stopped at the request of the Ethiopian authorities. The United Republic of Tanzania also was a victim of the falsification of import permits. Countries in Africa were importing quantities of those substances in considerable excess of the amounts reported as their legitimate annual needs. One instance of such inconsistency involved a single shipment to Uganda of 300 kg of pseudoephedrine, which was seized upon arrival. The Board notes with concern that a number of African States have consistently failed to respond to enquiries about potentially suspicious transactions, owing in part to lack of capacity in the competent authorities involved.
After Mexico banned the import of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, imports by several Central and South American countries increased significantly. Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua have been targeted by organized criminal groups for purposes of acquiring the substances and subsequently smuggling them from those domestic markets into North America, thereby circumventing the controls in place and ensuring the supply for illicit drug manufacture operations. The Board alerted the Government of Argentina to the increasingly excessive imports of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine into that country over the past several years. In 2008, the Argentinean authorities seized 1,222 kg of ephedrine. In one case, a consignment of 600 kg of ephedrine was discovered concealed in a shipment of sugar being exported to Mexico. The main importing companies in Argentina have been scrutinized by the authorities to verify the legitimate end use of the substance. As of the present writing, one major company has been closed and others have forfeited their licences as evidence grows that they were supplying illicit manufacturers of methamphetamine.
50. An increase in seizures of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in Central America and South America was reported, with Guatemala and Peru seizing large amounts of pseudoephedrine tablets. The destruction in July 2008 of the first methamphetamine laboratory ever in Argentina provides a clear indication of the growing interest of trafficking organizations in sourcing precursors of amphetamine-type stimulants from South America