$1.25bn cocaine from W Africa in Europe

2013-02-26 09:21


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


New York - Although the flow of cocaine through West Africa has declined, its wholesale value in Europe is a staggering $1.25bn, the United Nations said in a report circulated on Monday.

The UN Office of Drugs and Crime said in the report on organized crime in West Africa that it remains unclear whether drug trafficking played a role in last year's takeover of Mali's vast northern region.

But the report said there's little doubt that the recent flood of perhaps 10 000 to 20 000 weapons from Libya enabled Islamist rebels to gain control of northern Mali.

The UN agency, known as UNODC, expressed growing concern at the increasing production of methamphetamines in West Africa, said at least 10 percent of imported medicines in the region are fraudulent, and called Togo the new hotspot for pirate attacks on petroleum tankers in the Gulf of Guinea.

Based on an assessment of cocaine seizures in Europe, UNODC said the flow of the drug through the region appears to have declined from an estimated peak of 47 tons in 2007 to an estimated 18 tons in 2010.

"While this is good news, it does not take a lot of cocaine to cause trouble in a region with poverty and governance problems," the report said. "The entire military budget of many West African countries is less than the wholesale price of a ton of cocaine in Europe."

UNODC said that in the last decade the world cocaine market has undergone a dramatic shift with cocaine demand in the United States decreasing but demand in Europe doubling which has led to an upsurge in trafficking from South America through West Africa.

In 2011, the report said 30 percent of foreigners arrested for cocaine trafficking in four European countries — Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Portugal — were from West Africa, a poverty-stricken region comprising 16 countries and some 325 million people.

Crime groups

Cocaine-related corruption "has clearly undermined governance in places like Guinea-Bissau," it said.

UNODC expressed concern that trafficking could fund rebel forces in the Sahel and the terrorist group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

"Much of the cocaine headed to West Africa today comes from Brazil, where Nigerian crime groups are exporting the drug," it said.

Another worrying development, UNODC said, is the emergence of methamphetamine drug production in West Africa.

Two methamphetamine labs were discovered in Nigeria in 2011-2012 and an estimated 3 000 methamphetamine couriers travelled from West African countries — including Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal — to Asian countries, primarily Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand, in 2010, the report said.

"The drugs carried by these couriers sold for about $360m," UNODC said. "Unlike the cocaine flow, the bulk of the profits accrued to West African traffickers."

As for prescription drugs, the agency said in the last year at least 37 tons of illicitly imported painkillers have been seized in West Africa, mostly in Benin and Togo, most likely destined for markets in the Middle East.

"Unless the flows of contraband are addressed," UNODC said, "instability and lawlessness will persist, and it will remain difficult to build state capacity and the rule of law in the region."

- AP

Read more on:    eu  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  narcotics

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Fire white civil servants in W Cape - Cosatu

If the ANC wins the Western Cape in the 7 May general election, Cosatu will ask it to fire more than half the white senior civil servants.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Epping - 11:42 AM
    Road name: N7 Vanguard Drive
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bofors Circle
  • Thursday Newlands - 11:40 AM
    Road name: M3 Outbound
    DELAYS between Princess Anne Avenue and Wynberg Hill
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2395.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.