The Cocaine Pipeline to Europe

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

When Mexico’s drug cartels forced Colombian traffickers out of the US cocaine market, they seized control of the most coveted prize in the global drug trade. But the smartest traffickers soon began to turn elsewhere, to a market where the profits were higher, the risks were lower and the potential for growth was immense. They turned to Europe.

Today, Europe is arguably the most attractive cocaine market in the world, and its size and importance only continues to grow. This series, which is the product of field work and investigations over two years in more than 10 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe, traces the evolution of the European cocaine trade and the Latin American and European criminal networks that have shaped it.

Chapter 1

Cocaine to Europe: An Underestimated Threat

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

Over the last five years, the cocaine trade has enjoyed an unprecedented boom, with production levels at record highs.

Chapter 2

The Colombian Cocaine Shift to Europe: the Business No-Brainer

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

In September 1989, Los Angeles police broke open the cheap padlock that was the only security on a warehouse in the northern suburb of Sylmar.

Chapter 3

Spain: The European Base for Latin American Organized Crime

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

On April 30, 1984, the Mercedes taking Colombian Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla home after work was strafed with machine gun fire.

Chapter 4

The Italian Mafia and the Move Upstream

AUC / 9 FEB 2021

Operation ‘Tiburón Galloway’ began as a local investigation by prosecutors in the Italian region of Calabria in 2001, but quickly snowballed into a multinational, multiagency investigation.

Chapter 5

Cocaine – The Criminal Steroid

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

Cocaine is a criminal steroid. Those that gain access to its riches enjoy accelerated growth and power – quickly – usually leaving a trail of violence and corruption in their…

Chapter 6

Container Shipping: Cocaine Hide and Seek

BRAZIL / 9 FEB 2021

It was around 5 a.m. when the MSC Gayane cargo freighter docked in the port of Philadelphia on June 17, 2019. Instead of continuing on to its scheduled destination –…

Chapter 7

The Rise of “Plata” over “Plomo:” The Cancer of Corruption

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

In July 2020, British drug trafficker Robert Dawes was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in one of the most emblematic European drug trafficking cases of the…

Chapter 8

The Future of the Cocaine Trade to Europe

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

The flow of cocaine to Europe may have suffered along with most licit businesses due to the Covid-19 crisis, but few believe the damage to the drug trade will be…

Related Content

CACHIROS / 16 APR 2021

A string of bumper cocaine seizures on the Honduras Atlantic has provided a stark reminder of the region's importance in…

COCAINE / 18 DEC 2019

Authorities in Peru are investigating possible links between family clans dedicated to drug trafficking and members of the police that…

COCAINE / 17 OCT 2019

The discovery of large batches of cocaine in shipments of bananas to the Rotterdam port shows that traffickers continue to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…

icon #SupportFreePress
image

Support Our Work

Investigating organized crime is an expensive and often risky enterprise. Reaching primary sources and getting the real story involve extensive fieldwork. Please donate. Every dollar supports our mission.

DONATE NOW image