Transnational crime — specifically drug production and trafficking — is one of the most serious security issues facing the Pacific Islands region. Methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine trafficking is on the rise. The Pacific Islands have become a production site and trafficking destination, as well as trafficking thoroughfare, and Indigenous/local crime syndicates now work in partnership with transnational crime syndicates.
The criminal deportee policies of Australia, the United States and New Zealand are contributing to the problem, as is the COVD-19 pandemic, by exacerbating the vulnerabilities on which transnational organisations and local crime actors capitalise. The Pacific and its partners have responded by strengthening regional policing architecture and governance through enhanced law enforcement mechanisms, but challenges remain as the illicit drug trade adapts and takes root in the region.