Friday, March 03, 2006

United States Report Charges North Korea With Drug Trafficking

The U.S. State Department appears to have grown more confident about North Korea's involvement in criminal activities. In a 930-page document released this week, it said the North Korean government “likely” sponsors narcotics production and trafficking to earn much-needed foreign currency.
The report says North Korea has been linked to nearly 50 drug seizures in 20 different countries since 1990, which led to the arrest or detention of North Korean diplomats or officials. The report, divided into "Drug and Chemical Control" and "Money Laundering and Financial Crimes," also said North Korean officials and bodies launder the money from illegal activities through a network of front companies that use financial institutions overseas. This is in line with the Treasury Department's sanctions last September against a Macau bank suspected of helping the communist North launder money. The report also said Pyongyang was involved in trafficking in counterfeit brand goods such as cigarettes and Viagra. In a similar report in 2005, the U.S. admitted to having limited information due to Pyongyang's secrecy and isolation and that any knowledge about the country's financial system and drug trafficking was "supposition at best."