HomeNewsBriefMexico, Colombia Groups Bring Franchising Model to Europe: Europol
BRIEF

Mexico, Colombia Groups Bring Franchising Model to Europe: Europol

COLOMBIA / 11 APR 2016 BY ELISE DITTA EN

Drug trafficking organizations in Colombia and Mexico are reportedly using the criminal franchise model to traffic cocaine into Europe, replicating a strategy commonly used to smuggle drugs through Latin America. 

In a recent report, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and Europol said that the number of criminal organizations involved in cocaine trafficking in Europe has increased, with Colombian, Italian, Dutch, British and Spanish organized crime groups all playing a role. 

"We are confronting a new era," Rob Wainright, director of Europol, told Mexican newspaper El Universal.

According to Wainright, Mexican and Colombian groups are adapting to the fragmentation of organized crime in Europe by implementing a franchise model. This entails selling the "brand of the criminal enterprise" as well as the "operating license" -- which includes access to drugs without intermediaries, connections with diverse contacts and methods to facilitate the transport of cocaine -- to local organized crime groups.

"This is the new commercial model in Europe and we think that the Mexican and Colombian groups are adapting to it, seeking out established collaborators in Europe," he said. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of European Organized Crime 

Colombian and Italian groups continue to dominate the European retail market, although West African, especially Nigerian, groups are also active in transporting cocaine from Africa to Europe.

"Nigerian groups, in particular...are now on par with Latin American groups in their ability to source, finance and transport bulk quantities of cocaine from Latin America to Africa, Europe and elsewhere," the report states. 

InSight Crime Analysis

It is unsurprising that Mexican and Colombian groups are adapting the criminal franchise model to the European market, since this system is frequently utilized in Latin America.

In Mexico, due in part to increased government crackdowns against large, hierarchical cartels, some criminal groups have moved to a franchise model, with independent operators paying for the right to use the brand name of established organizations such as that of the feared Zetas gang. Meanwhile the country's most powerful drug trafficking organization, the Sinaloa Cartel, is better understood as a "federation" of various groups rather than a tightly knit organization.

Colombia has also seen the fragmentation and franchising of criminal groups. The Urabeños, the only organized crime group left in Colombia that maintains a national reach, are a good example of this. The organization is made up of multiple smaller groups or nodes, dedicated to a wide range of criminal activities. Those who make up the central command often do not have direct control over these smaller groups who are renting out the Urabeños name.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 27 APR 2011

A series of three news reports, written by Jose Luis Sierra and published by New American Media, look…

COLOMBIA / 7 SEP 2011

Police seized more than 4.5 tons of marijuana which allegedly belonged to the Rastrojos drug gang, and was apparently being…

MEXICO / 3 AUG 2017

A new government study of Mexico's prison system paints a relatively favorable portrait of penitentiary conditions -- at least in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…