Demand is rising – The North Sea is the main smuggling route for cocaine


According to a UN report, the North Sea has become the main cocaine smuggling route to Western Europe. These include the ports of Antwerp, Rotterdam and Hamburg. Demand for the drug has also increased in many regions of the world, they say.

About ten years ago, smugglers of Albanian origin started buying the goods directly in South America and shipping them to Belgium and the Netherlands. In 2021, the government seized 89.5 tons of cocaine in Antwerp, in Rotterdam it was 70.6 tons. While drug finds only increased slightly in these two cities, they rose sharply in Hamburg (record amount of 19 tons in 2021) and Bremen. Albanian groups supplied the British drug market from nearby ports in the Netherlands and Germany, among others, the report said.

“North Sea ports such as Antwerp, Rotterdam and Hamburg are now overshadowing traditional import destinations in Spain and Portugal,” the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in Vienna on Thursday.

More cultivation, progress in processing
Over the past decade, demand has increased in many regions of the world. The North Sea route may have even contributed to the fact that cocaine is more widely distributed in Europe than in the past. Last year, coca plantings rose 35 percent after a pandemic-related slump. The area in South America grew to more than 300,000 hectares. In addition, the UN team reported that advances in the chemical processing of coca into cocaine had increased production.

Source: Krone


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