Re-Routing Cocaine Traffic

March 5, 2018 Crime , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

NCA photo



Ricardo Swire



Caribbean national intelligence officials have noted novel Colombian Cartel European drug trafficking routes. Usually there are two main areas cocaine shipments transit en route to Europe. The Caribbean archipelago is first with the Dominican Republic and Jamaica identified as main hubs. Adjusted patterns highlighted cocaine traffic also travels via the Eastern Caribbean. 2015 United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODC) data reflected cocaine seizures only increased in Central America and the Caribbean that year, maritime resources routinely moving consignments through the Azores.


The latest Colombian Cartels’ trafficking routes to Europe travel southward through Spain and Portugal. Northward maritime ports in the Netherlands and Belgium are the most important entry points. Since a recent cocaine production boom at home Colombian trafficking networks have pushed heavy weight consignments to Albanian ports. Albania is identified as the crossroad between eastern and western Europe. On Wednesday February 28, 2018 a unified counter-narcotics enforcement mission comprised of Colombian National Navy, Albanian Police, Central American and international colleagues, intercepted six hundred and thirteen kilos of Colombian cocaine in the port of Durres Albania.


For 2018 to date, joint US/Central America/Europe naval interagency collaborations have seized more than seven tons of cocaine. In the latest interception Albania’s Police Chief reported the €180 million or US$220 million cocaine supply was camouflaged inside the “double-bottom” floor of a shipping container from Colombia. The transport vessel originally sailed with a load of bananas, during the middle of January 2018, navigational charts showing the ship docked in Italy and Malta prior to arrival in Albania.


Albanian police used active intelligence, provided by the multi-national team, to coordinate an operation that monitored the Albanian owned shipping container. After the drugs landed Albanian Police counter-narcotics officers, acting on a “Search and Seizure Order” against the receiving business owner, made arrests and confiscated the multi-million dollar cocaine consignment. Intelligence reports identified “Clan del Golfo Cartel,” a shadowy trafficking network with cells across Europe, as shipper.


One important development is the usage increase of containers aboard commercial ships to smuggle cocaine making detection difficult. Since 2006 maritime seizures that involve containers increased, while seizures from ships declined. The 2017 United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) report advised Albanian crime groups are now prominently involved in drug trafficking. Members have high-profile influence in the UK‘s organized crime. Albanians comprise eight to nine percent of five thousand eight hundred and sixty-six UK gangs or criminal networks, encompassing just under forty thousand characters, London based Albanian cocaine syndicates having considerable influence across the UK’s drug market.





Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

Editor review


No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.