The main purpose of Narcoleaks is to keep track of drug seizures in the world. In 2011, the project will be limited to cocaine seizures. The reasons for this choice are due to the fact that cocaine trafficking still represents one of the most profitable revenues for the illegal economy, much beyond the official data, despite the competition from synthetic drugs and the heroin comeback. The efforts by the police forces of many countries to counter the drug offer make possible to intercept only part of the trafficking.
There are two institutions currently measuring the trends of drug trafficking, often releasing inconsistent, contradictory data: the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the U.S. Department of State. Libera, the Italian association against mafias, was the first to prove the inconsistencies in the official reports, with a research by Sandro Donati that denounced an underestimation in the world production of cocaine. In this context, cocaine seizure data have an extraordinary importance. On one side, they represent the only ‘real’ parameter, since production data are obtained from estimates calculated through satellite relief images of coca plantations. On the other side, they constitute a significant barometer of the criminal economy.
Narcoleaks’ monitoring is conducted on over 100 sources that primarily cover Latin America, where most of the biggest seizures of pure cocaine take place. These sources make possible to ‘intercept’ news that approximately represent more than 90% of the seizures taking place all over the world. Finally, in order to test along the way the reliability of the collected data, they are compared with the partial statistics periodically released by several countries during the year.
The project involves a group of Italian journalists and researchers under the scientific direction of Sandro Donati, author of several research papers on cocaine production and trafficking for the association Libera.
Sandro Donati, Giovanni Augello
Ilaria Roberta Sesana, Monica Caboi, Lorenzo Bagnoli, Christian Giorgio