HomeNewsBriefPersian Gulf is Growing Drug Hub For LatAm Groups
BRIEF

Persian Gulf is Growing Drug Hub For LatAm Groups

ARGENTINA / 17 SEP 2013 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

The Gulf States are an increasingly important operation base and drug transshipment point for Latin American groups, according to a prominent security analyst, using the region to coordinate transport to Europe and Asia while attempting to stoke local demand.

Speaking at a security summit in Qatar's capital Doha, drug trafficking expert Johan Obdola said drug cartels were attracted to the region for its wealth, reported The Peninsular. A Mexican cell was operating out of Dubai, he said, and Qatar was being used as a transit point for export to other Gulf States.

There is some evidence to support this assertion. In two weeks last September, there were six cases of attempted drug smuggling from an airport near Buenos Aires to the Qatar capital Doha on Qatar Airlines, reported La Nacion. A security source told the Argentine paper the "new route" had "exploded."

Qatar customs authorities claim to catch 90 percent of drug mules -- including 50 last year -- but Obdola questioned that figure, calling local seizures "the tip of the iceberg," reported the Gulf Times. Drug smugglers caught in Persian Gulf States face severe sentencesincluding the death penalty.

InSight Crime Analysis

This is not the first time Qatar has been mentioned as an emerging transshipment point for Latin American drugs. La Nacion newspaper reported in 2011 a link between Argentina and the emirate. According to that report, a kilo of cocaine can be sold for up to $90,000 in the region -- three times its value in the United States -- a highly lucrative trade if criminal groups are successful in increasing local demand.

SEE ALSO: LatAm Drug Traffickers Set Up in Guinea-Bissau, Expand in Africa

Authorities estimate that 75 percent of recovered cocaine in the Middle East comes from Brazil. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime also identified Brazil as major departure point for drugs heading to Europe and West Africa.

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

BRAZIL / 20 FEB 2017

Prosecutors from 11 countries have met to coordinate their response to the Odebrecht corruption case, in an unusually strong showing…

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 28 OCT 2020

Six months after a sophisticated robbery where gunmen hijacked gold and silver bars being loaded onto a plane in Mexico,…

MEXICO / 25 MAR 2014

Throughout 2013, a total of 330 attacks against journalists, media workers and media facilities were recorded in Mexico. It was…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

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.