Coke-vid-19 Pandemic sees increased amounts of cocaine shipped into Europe, report finds
DRUG Cartels are shipping unprecedented amounts of cocaine into Europe determined to cash in booming demand.
Gang bosses see the 300 million population in eastern Europe as an untapped market that will reap billions in reward.
While the United States is still the biggest market according to The European Drug Report 2020 a kilo of coke sells there at a wholesale price of just €24,000 compared to €37,000 in Europe.
It is believed shipments to Europe have increased during the pandemic as the drug gangs have successfully expanded their infiltration of legitimate transport links.
Europe’s largest port Rotterdam saw cocaine seizures reach 25 tons in the first half of 2020, double the amount recorded in the same period last year.
Cocaine seizures are at an all-time high in Europe, 181 tons from 110,000 seizures while purity has increased and more people are entering treatment for the first time.
The EU drug agency, EMCCDA, also carried out surveys in spring which show that drug dealers have already adapted to coronavirus lockdown switching from the streets to couriers.
“The operation of lucrative drug markets by organised crime groups, and the record levels of cocaine and high volumes of heroin seized, highlights the persistent threat presented by criminals seeking to exploit supply chains, shipping routes and large ports to traffic drugs,” said European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.
Europol revealed today (Friday) how the Spanish Civil Guard, Dutch Police and US Homeland Security Investigations and Border and Protection broke up a gang trafficking cocaine from South America to Europe.
Eight suspects were arrested earlier this month in Spain and the Netherlands including the suspected leader of the network.
Spanish police seized six tonnes of cocaine, jewellery, cash and encrypted devices during the operation
The suspects are believed to have developed their own encrypted mobile apps to communicate with their counterparts.
The gang also used military combat veterans as part of their network, according to Europol.