EU barrier model 2

Drug criminals abuse regular postal and courier services. They use these services to ship drugs to their customers. The Dutch Centrum voor Criminaliteitspreventie en Veiligheid (the CCV) has mapped the modus operandi of these criminals with various public and private parties in order to put up barriers and counter the abuse.

Illegal flow of goods through legal flow of goods
Whoever sells drugs must ensure that the drugs reach the customer. This can be done, for example, by handing it over directly or by sending it on. In particular, when drugs are bought over the internet (or darknet), the drugs will be sent by post or through a courier service. This means that this illegal flow of goods goes through the legal flow of goods, often without the knowledge of (employees of) postal and courier companies. 

Many shipments from the Netherlands and Belgium
Figures on seizures show that many shipments leave from the Netherlands and Belgium. These are major producer countries of synthetic drugs. The shipments are mainly within Europe, but also worldwide. For example, certain Asian countries, the United States, Australia and New Zealand regularly emerge as destination regions for MDMA (XTC). 

Understanding modus operandi to counter abuse
To counter abuse of regular postal and courier services, the European Network on the Administrative Approach (ENAA) and the European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) asked CCV to provide insight into the modus operandi of drug criminals with a barrier model. Chadia Dehbi of ENAA: "From an administrative approach perspective, it is important to look outside-the-box at a complex phenomenon. That is why we chose to deploy a European barrier model. The model helps with imaging and is an action plan in one. It brings forward partners and solutions that might not be thought of in the first place."

Public-private partnership
The CCV, together with several public and private parties from Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands (, the Belgian federal police, police Luxembourg, the Dutch Police Academy, Customs, Taskforce - RIEC Zeeland - West Brabant, bpost, DHL, FedEx and UPS), investigated what steps criminals need to take to transport synthetic drugs via postal and courier services. In addition, the parties examined which service providers and occasions facilitate the transport of synthetic drugs and which signals may indicate criminal activity. Finally, the parties together looked at what barriers could be put in place to nip misuse of postal and courier services in the bud at an early stage. 

From barrier model to practice
On the follow-up, Dehbi states: "To fully understand the phenomenon, collaboration between the public and private sectors has proved crucial. Therefore, the first steps to turn this barrier model into practice consist of building a relationship of trust and cooperation between public and private partners."

More information
- View the EU barrier model 'shipment of synthetic drugs via postal and courier services' after logging on to or