Europol, DEA Tout Joint Action Against Global Drug Trafficking
Mexican cartels and criminal networks headquartered in the European Union (EU) have been collaborating to traffic methamphetamine and cocaine from Latin America to the EU, Europol and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) revealed in a joint report Wednesday.
According to the report, Mexican cartels coordinate with EU-based criminal networks to transport the drugs to EU ports for further distribution inside the EU or transit to even more lucrative markets in Asia and Oceania.
“The use of concealed shipments – such as cocaine hidden in blocks of cellular thermal concrete – or the plans to establish cocaine smuggling routes from Colombia to airports in southern Italy using private jets show the ever-evolving nature of these criminal activities,” according to Europol.
The agency added that corrupt officials in both the public and private sectors operate as facilitators, increasing the chance of successful drug trafficking to the EU.
Mexican cartels have a history of establishing drug trafficking centers and powerful criminal alliances on American soil, and they are now attempting to develop a similar structure in Europe.
The DEA and Europol are also concerned that an “increased presence of Mexican cartels in the EU could also result in increased profits for them and their EU-based criminal collaborators, as well as an increase in violence in the EU.”
Europol said that the EU’s most recent Serious and Organized Crime Threat Assessment showed that criminal networks across the EU are becoming more international, with 65 percent of criminal groups active in the EU composed of members of multiple nationalities, and with the increase in Mexican criminals collaborating with EU-based actors amplifying that trend in the EU drug market.
Those actors include facilitators such as “brokers, laboratory specialists, envoys, intermediaries and money laundering service providers.”
The report also said that the new type of criminal collaboration includes the manufacturing of methamphetamine, cocaine hydrochloride and fentanyl in several EU member states.
“Despite no current indications of a fentanyl market in the EU, the discovery of fentanyl production facilities and seizures of the substance in the EU raises concerns over the development of a fentanyl market,” Europol warned.
The report “Complexities and conveniences in the international drug trade: the involvement of Mexican criminal actors in the EU drug market”, underlines the agencies’ collaborative strategy in combating global drug trafficking, through an exchange of operational and strategic information, according to Europol.