Lockdown — a time without drug use and parties? Not quite. In spite of COVID, lots of cocaine is ending up in Germany and the rest of Europe. The stimulant is crossing the Atlantic in record amounts, hidden in shipping containers.
Partying At Home
Ahead of the pandemic, friends would meet in pubs, where they would secretly take cocaine due to being in a public setting.
“If you are a group of eight people, it’s not like you are all running into the bathroom at the same time,” a Berlin resident states. “But when you are at home, you put the stuff on the table, make eight lines, and everybody gets some in precisely the identical time. It is quicker this way, and everyone takes more.”
There are still no official statistics on how drug use has changed during the coronavirus pandemic. Movement limitations, deserted airports, and closed borders should have complicated the work of criminal gangs, as it’s for legal enterprises. Experts consequently initially anticipated the illegal drug trade to plummet, resulting in a reduction in intake.
Yet supply isn’t a problem in any way, states the Berlin resident. With just one phone call, a “cocaine cab” will stop at one’s home 20 to 30 minutes afterward. “You don’t need to wait any longer than forty-five minutes.” It’s comparable to food delivery services. Prices also have remained steady, he says, while the purity of the material has increased.
Europe Is Good For Business
As per Jeremy McDermott, manager of InSight Crime, Europe is now the most engaging market for cocaine traffickers. In an interview, he talks of a “cocaine pipeline to Europe.”
“The prices are much higher, and the dangers are so much lower than in the Americas,” McDermott says. He and his staff in Medellín, Colombia, examine organized crime in South America.
“The US spends billions of dollars every year fighting the drug war. They’ve deployed a veritable army devoted to counternarcotics,” he says. This makes focusing on Europe” simply a great business decision.” McDermott thinks the European cocaine market will proceed to grow, especially in Eastern Europe.
Cocaine production in countries like Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru remains high. Many routes to Europe have been created from these areas, McDermott says.
“Let us take one of the most popular paths, which can be from Colombia into a port in Brazil. There, the cocaine must be placed on a container moving to Europe. That will involve a unique unlawful arrangement, one that has probably corrupt port officials and customs officials.”
After reaching Europe, another crew obtains the containers and is taken to an intermediate storage department, McDermott says. The ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp are important reception points, he adds. “So it’s often Dutch organized crime which will find the cocaine off the docks and transfer into a safe house where the load is broken down. It has several owners and various destinations.”
Expect More Violence
Cocaine continues to be on the rise in Europe for many years now. We expect the boom to cause severe consequences. We should be prepared for more corruption and more violence in Europe.
Given that the cocaine levels have been found, then one must already assume that drug gangs are bribing workers in airports and ports, at the least. Additionally, there are increasing indications of corruption in law enforcement and criminal justice actors in Europe, including some individuals in government and politics in Europe who could benefit from the cocaine business.
The more cocaine moves into Europe, the more money is at stake, and This raises the openness of gangs to use violence. He calls the discovery in the Netherlands of freight containers transformed into cruelty chambers to illustrate how brutally made crime today operates in Europe.
There have been firings in Hamburg’s drug-trafficking scenario, and that stronger firearms are being found through searches. Customs and police officers are also being warned, he adds.
Last Link In Extended Chain
How should the state react? With a battle on drugs such as the one the United States is pursuing? McDermott of InSight Crime doesn’t think that’s the ideal way: “You will need a holistic approach, not simply repression, interdictions and arrests.”
He states that Germany needs to work with its European partners, the US, and countries in Latin America. “You’ve got to strengthen civil society, providing cocoa farmers a dignified and legal choice. If you are trying to include the drug trade by simply searching containers in Hamburg, then your odds of making a significant dent into the drug trade are tough [slim].”
The cocaine user in Berlin considers himself as the final link in a long chain. Now major change would take place if he quit cocaine, he says. “Once the material is here, it is just like a slaughtered pig. If I do not eat it, it is still dead.”
Though what about his health? Regular cocaine use can harm blood, vessels, and internal body organs, cause psychological addiction, and activate mental illness, physicians warn. “Because it is cut, what you are putting into your body is sometimes questionable,” the Berlin resident states. He’s resolved to attempt to do one thing once the lockdown ends, though: cut back on his ingestion.
German Police Arrest 20 Suspects In EU Drug Raids
The claimed offenders are accused of importing tons of drugs from Southern Europe to market in Germany, such as cannabis and cocaine smuggled from South America. Police arrested 20 suspects due to a sweeping crackdown on an organized drug-smuggling network in Germany on February 12, 2021.
Researchers accused them of importing large quantities of cannabis from southern Europe to market in Germany, authorities in the northwestern state of Lower Saxony. The suspects are also considered to have trafficked cocaine from South America to a “considerable extent,” the authorities said.
Moreover, the perpetrators allegedly dealt in guns, the Hannover Interior Ministry reported. The network’s alleged actions date back to 2017.
How police caught up with the smugglers
Following German tabloid newspaper Bild, the analysis was initiated by the Federal Criminal Police Office.
Tests in France were crucial. Specialists in the Nation Analyzed messages delivered via the now-defunct encrypted messaging support EncroChat.
Often, chat pseudonyms were traced to several suspects in Hannover, the capital of Lower Saxony.
According to a police statement, raids resulting in arrests were carried out in Hannover and around the City of Celle, in precisely the identical state.
Raids also went forward in the city of Halle from the neighboring country of Saxony-Anhalt, the significant port city of Hamburg, and the Baltic country Latvia.
Around 1,000 officials participate in the operation. In addition to detaining suspects, they hunted around 65 premises.
“This is a true achievement in the fight against established drug offense,” Bild cited Boris Pistorius, Lower Saxony’s interior minister, as saying.
EU Tackles Drug Importers
In early February, investigators in Germany and Belgium discovered a total of 23 metric tons of cocaine with a road value of billions of euros at a cross-European drugs bust. It was the largest ever single haul for EU authorities.
In total, 102 metric tons of cocaine led for the European continent were intercepted last year by an international law enforcement job co-implemented from the UN. “Never since has so greatly cocaine been intercepted at the same time,” said Dutch authorities, talking about the mega-shipment costing billions of euros.
Investigators discovered a total of 23 metric tons (25 US tons) of cocaine with a street value of billions of euros at a cross-European drugs model, German customs said Wednesday.
The cocaine was discovered in Germany and Belgium. The mega imports are a “complete record,” Dutch authorities said in a statement.
How Did Governments Uncover The Cocaine Shipment?
A firm based in the Netherlands provided German authorities a tip-off. This supports them finding 16 metric tons of cocaine in the port of Hamburg on February 12. The cocaine was concealed inside containers from Paraguay.
Customs officers at the port took a closer look in the Paraguayan Containers after discovering “clear irregularities” with its contents — tin cans meant to be full of putty.
The customs officials arranged for the containers to be unloaded. They found that “past a layer of real goods packed only supporting the container door, many tin cans were filled with different goods.”
In all, around 16 tons of cocaine was finally found in more than 1,700 tin cans. Each comprised eight cocaine packages weighing more than 9 kilograms (20 pounds) each.
Joint investigations into the stash led police to find another 7.2 metric tons of cocaine in the port of Antwerp in Belgium, German customs said. Antwerp is Europe’s second-biggest port.
The stash in Belgium was concealed in a container filled with wooden blocks, investigators said. The drugs were packaged for “the same destination in the Netherlands,” Dutch authorities said.
Has Anybody Been Arrested?
The 28-year-old owner of an import corporation in the major port town of Rotterdam was detained in the Netherlands with the illegal cargo. The arrest was made as Dutch police searched two assumptions — one in Rotterdam and another from the neighboring village of Vlaardingen.
It is now important for the Dutch researchers to determine if he is responsible for this huge cocaine operation or if he is more like a guy hiding a bigger criminal network.
The Cocaine’s Street Value
“We’re estimating a road sales value of between $1.5 billion And $3.5 billion ($1.8 billion and $4.3 billion) for the 16 tons,” Hamburg customs office leader Rene Matschke told news agency AFP, talking about the amount found in the German interface.
The greater value would apply if the drug were sold “cut” or diluted with other substances.
Dutch prosecutors estimated that the wholesale value of the joint Shipments at $600 million ($730 million).
How Frequently Do Governments Find Such Shipments?
In all, 102 metric tons of cocaine led for the European continent were intercepted last year by an international law enforcement job co-implemented from the UN.
Most of the shipments reached Antwerp. Last year, a complete of 65.5 metric tons were captured there in 2020 –this is an all-time album for the port.
The drugs come from Latin America — mostly from Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia.
Europe Is Experiencing a ‘Cocaine Wave’
We’re facing an enormous cocaine wave drifting all over Europe. And this is causing enormous problems” both concerning addiction and crime. The criminal networks aren’t focusing so much on a single nation. They do not care in Europe about national boundaries.
Security experts say this enormous cocaine seizure from Hamburg’s port must be a wake-up call for European politicians.
What’s Next For European Law Enforcement?
“We’re probably only seeing the tip of the iceberg,” Germany’s Green Party lawmaker Irene Mihalic stated on the most recent bust.
Further investigations are set to be performed on behalf of the Hamburg public prosecutor and in close coordination with Dutch authorities.
Dutch Police Discover Netherlands’ Largest Cocaine Lab
Dutch officials have said the cocaine laboratory was equipped to produce hundreds of kilograms of cocaine each day. Colombian and Dutch citizens, in addition to a Turkish national, have been detained.
Dutch authorities dismantled what they described as the biggest Cocaine lab in the Netherlands. The laboratory was located in a former riding school in Nijveen, located 120 km (75 miles) northeast of Amsterdam.
Police said they discovered tens of thousands of liters worth of substances and 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of this narcotic. It could produce 150 to 200 kilograms of cocaine daily, and authorities said in a statement — a street value of $4.5 million. “It was a huge production,” a police spokesperson said.
A total of 17 suspects — three Dutch, 13 Colombians, and one Turkish Citizen — were perceived as a member of the drug bust. Police said additional arrests were also possible.
Police also found 120 tons “carrier substance,” that mainly consisted of clothes, during two other raids of warehouses in Elshout and Apeldoorn in southern and central Holland. According to authorities, the surgery was a “drug laundry,” in which drugs have been “washed out” of clothing.
Drugs were suspended in a solution that was then embedded in the clothing before being smuggled into the Netherlands. The laboratory in Nijveen subsequently used special chemicals to extract the medication before prepping it available.
The Netherlands is considered a significant drug entry point for Europe. The country has fought drug offenses, especially cocaine smuggling, mostly through the seaport of Rotterdam, the biggest on the continent.