Europe is still receiving massive cocaine shipments from South America. Just recently, London authorities seized €47 million worth of cocaine at the London Gateway port.
Millions Worth of Cocaine Shipment Busted
London authorities confiscated a substantial freight of cocaine bound for the Netherlands. The National Crime Agency (NCA), together with the Border Force officials seized over a half-ton of cocaine at the London Gateway port.
The officials found the illegal substance tucked in the banana shipment shipped by boat from Colombia to the UK, according to the NCA. They intercepted the consignment even before it reached the Netherlands.
“Taking out a consignment of this size will have been a huge blow to the criminal network involved in this shipment, preventing them from making millions of pounds that would have been invested in further criminality,” said NCA Branch Operations Manager Adam Berry.
He added that the NCA works hard and collaborates with partners to keep drugs from getting so far. This confiscation shows how they can demolish the connection between street-level dealers and international drug cartels.
The UK drugs bounty comes after a succession of major confiscations by authorities at the Dutch ports. It emphasises the vast amounts of cocaine being consigned from South America to Europe. Last Friday, they seized 475 kilos of cocaine in Rotterdam port in two different appropriations, amounting to €35 million.
The “New Normal” for Drug Traffickers During the Pandemic
Most markets around the world experienced recession and bankruptcy. Even the cocaine and marijuana markets were not shielded against the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, several reports show how fast drug traffickers adjust to the “new normal” to keep their business alive.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) July report, Brazil’s marijuana and cocaine trafficking was also affected by the lockdown measures.
There has been a consistent increase in marijuana confiscation throughout the pandemic. Cocaine confiscation, on the other hand, has temporarily decreased regardless of regional variations.
Marijuana confiscations increased by 107% year on year, hitting around 600 tons. Contrarily, cocaine busts declined by almost 20%.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reported that cocaine smugglers flew their merchandise to avoid border closures. Marijuana traffickers, on the other hand, head toward remote areas.
Pacaraima and Boa Vista in northern Brazil serve as the channel for Colombian marijuana. Boatloads of these psychoactive drugs traverse Venezuelan waterways. In the South, Rio Grande do Sul became the entry in 2020, where marijuana from Paraguay crosses.
Sky as the New Route for Drug Trafficking
The pandemic disrupted the traditional approach to cocaine entry into Brazil. Despite the widespread threat of Covid-19, Bolivia and Peru managed to have high cocaine production from 2019 to 2020. However, with borders closed, drug traffickers must find a new route by taking their merchandise to the skies.
“An increased flow of cocaine into the western border areas of Brazil shortly after the onset of COVID-19 seems to have been enabled…by traffickers increasingly resorting to clandestine flights to transport cocaine into Brazil,” according to the report.
São Paulo prosecutor, Lincoln Gakiya said that Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC) purchased helicopters and small planes to carry between 400 to 500 kilos of cocaine from Paraguay and Bolivia.
Image Source: Mart Production/Pexels