$1.25bn cocaine from W Africa in Europe

2013-02-26 09:21

(Shutterstock)

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
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

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
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!

 
 

I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

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

Hello 

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.

Settings

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.