Spotlight News 3/16/2015

Dockworkers at the Port of Valparaiso, Chile Launch Indefinite Strike, Other Ports to Strike This Afternoon

Approximately 500 dockworkers at the Port of Valparaiso, located in Valparaiso Region, Chile, initiated an indefinite strike to protest alleged issues including the distribution of labor at the facility. According to reports, the strike by the dockworkers, who are employed at Terminal One, is affecting all operations at the port. However, it is unclear to what extent the impact of the strike is having on cargo shipments moving through other terminals at the facility.

In addition, other dockworkers at an unconfirmed number of ports, including at least the Port of San Antonio, will respect the call to strike by the Port Union of Chile and halt operations between 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. local time. According to union representatives, this strike is intended to act as a warning to Chile’s government to not pass the new labor reform law that dockworkers believe is anti-union and which the House is scheduled to vote on today. Should the House approve the bill, it is very likely that additional strikes conducted by dockworkers and laborers in other major sectors, including miners, will occur in the near future.


Malaysian Officials Seize Counterfeit Food Items From Production Facility

Officials from Malaysia’s Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry seized approximately $67,600 worth of a fake chocolate drink mix from a production facility located on the outskirts of the Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan Area. According to reports, Malaysian officials found the imitation drink product, weighing machines, printers, boxes, and tens of thousands of fake packages during a raid in Mantin, located on the outskirts of the Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan Area. Six workers from Myanmar were arrested during the raid, and police are continuing to investigate the counterfeiting syndicate. The brand owner of the drink mix is urging consumers to purchase the products from major trusted retailers, adding that the taste and appearance of the counterfeit goods are inconsistent with the real product.


Police Dismantle Major Italian Criminal Group Trafficking Stolen Pharmaceuticals in Naples, Rome

Provincial police in Naples and Rome disrupted a large criminal organization specializing in the trafficking of stolen pharmaceuticals, and are conducting further investigations in Salerno, also located in Italy. Police seized 53,000 packages of stolen medications, including cancer drugs, anti-rheumatic drugs, and anti-neurodegenerative drugs. Authorities are still establishing when and where the criminals stole the pharmaceuticals. It appears that the stolen drugs were only sold on black markets within Italy, but authorities have not yet verified the extent of the group’s operations. 


Cocaine Seized From Six Shipping Containers During Two Operations in Panama

Authorities in Panama conducted two separate operations at seaports in the nation, seizing a total of 568 packages of cocaine from six shipping containers. In the first operation, authorities in Panama City detected 483 packages of cocaine inside a shipping container transporting compost to Belgium. The container originated in the United States, but authorities believe that corrupt dockworkers in Panama had been paid by a criminal organization to introduce the illegal drugs, worth an estimated $29 million.

In the second operation, officers at the seaport in Colon seized an additional 85 packages of cocaine from five refrigerated shipping containers originating in Ecuador and Peru. It’s not clear if the shipping containers were transporting any legitimate cargo, but authorities are acting under the assumption that the drugs were introduced in the South American countries rather than in Panama. These containers were also destined for Belgium.