There are no more robberies – everything is in the drug business. How Colombian cartels conquer Europe

Police officers, prosecutors, tax officials actively cooperate with drug cartels who have appreciated all the advantages of the European market.

There are no more robberies - everything is in the drug business.  How Colombian cartels conquer Europe
Last month, Belgian security forces carried out a major operation called Sky. 1.6 thousand law enforcement officers conducted 200 raids in the port city of Antwerp, writes The Guardian. The operation became the largest in the history of the country. She also showed the scale of the drug trade in Europe.

Thus, 27 tons of cocaine were seized in Antwerp. The drug was stored in safe houses, as well as on ships in the port. The estimated cost of the substance is about 1.4 billion euros.

Colombian drug cartels managed to understand that it is much easier and more profitable to work in the European market than in the American one. The legislation in the EU countries is not as strict as in the USA. At the same time, a kilogram of cocaine in Europe costs from 40 thousand to 80 thousand dollars, while in the United States the cost reaches only 28 thousand dollars.

Jeremy McDermott, Executive Director of InSight Crime think tank:
“This is a simple business. The reason Antwerp and Rotterdam are so attractive is because they are some of the most efficient ports in the world, handling huge volumes of containers, which allows drug traffickers to manipulate the numbers.»

The system that is used to ship drugs to Europe entails unprecedented levels of corruption. Violence is also growing dangerously. For example, during the raids, the security forces discovered a makeshift prison built of seven shipping containers. One of the cells was equipped with a dental chair with straps on the armrests and a footrest. There were also found saws, scalpels, pliers, tape and black cotton bags, which were probably worn over the head.

“We no longer have robberies,” said Joris van der Aa, a respected columnist for Gazet van Antwerpen. “Everyone works in the drug business.”

The journalist did not understate by saying “everything.” During Operation Sky, the police had to detain their own colleagues, a prosecutor, tax officials and hospital administrators. True, law enforcement officers hardly managed to get close to the leaders of the European drug business, who, according to available data, prefer life in Turkey and the UAE.


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