Mexican cartels are seeking to cement themselves as "key players" in Europe's drugs market, according to the European Police Office (Europol).
Europol warned that Mexican groups, now the "global market coordinators" for cocaine trafficking, were expanding to take control of different parts of the supply chain in a bid to increase profits, and moving further into Europe.
In a statement published April 12, Europol highlighted Mexican groups' involvement in human trafficking from northeast Europe to Mexico, and the trafficking of firearms from southeast Europe to South America, as well as their role in the drugs trade.
A small number of violent incidents in Europe have been attributed to Mexican groups, according to the statement.
InSight Crime Analysis
Colombian drug traffickers use long-established routes to the European market through Spain and Italy, but in recent years there has been a reported increase in cocaine trafficked directly to the continent from Mexico. Europol is clearly taking the issue seriously, and this is the organization's second statement this year voicing concerns about the increasing influence of Mexican cartels in Europe.
As InSight Crime has noted, fears about Mexican-style drug violence arriving to the continent are probably unwarranted. However, the notion that the cartels are seeking to encroach on Colombian territory in Europe in order to access bigger profits makes sense. Europe is a more lucrative market than the United States, with a kilo of cocaine sold wholesale fetching between $53,000 to $55,000, compared to between $24,000 and $27,000 in the United States, according to intelligence company Stratfor.