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Legal penalties
See also: Capital punishment for drug trafficking
Drug trafficking is widely regarded by lawmakers as a serious offense around the world. Penalties often depend on the type of drug (and its classification in the country into which it is being trafficked), the quantity trafficked, where the drugs are sold and how they are distributed. If the drugs are sold to underage people, then the penalties for trafficking may be harsher than in other circumstances.

Drug smuggling carries severe penalties in many countries. Sentencing may include lengthy periods of incarceration, flogging and even the death penalty (in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and elsewhere). In December 2005, Van Tuong Nguyen, a 25 year old Australian drug smuggler, was hanged in Singapore after being convicted in March 2004. In 2010, two people were sentenced to death in Malaysia for trafficking 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of cannabis into the country.[19] Execution is mostly used as a deterrent, and many have called upon much more effective measures to be taken by countries to tackle drug trafficking,[20] such as for example targeting specific criminal organisations (which are often also active in the smuggling of other goods (i.e. wildlife) and even people. In some cases, even links between politicians and the criminal organisations have been proven to exist.

Effects of the illegal drug trade on societies
The countries of drug production and transit are some of the most affected by the drug trade, though countries receiving the illegally imported substances are also adversely affected. For example, Ecuador has absorbed up to 300,000 refugees from Colombia who are running from guerrillas, paramilitaries and drug lords. While some applied for asylum, others are still illegal immigrants. The drugs that pass from Colombia through Ecuador to other parts of South America create economic and…...

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