HomeNewsShould Europe Be Bracing for the Spread of Tusi?

Seizures of pink cocaine, or "tusi," in Spain show how this synthetic drug has moved from primarily being used in Latin American cities to gaining a permanent foothold in Europe.  

During a raid on properties in the Madrid area, Spanish police seized almost eight kilograms of tusi, alongside cocaine, luxury vehicles, a firearm, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, according to a November 30 press release. This was the third-largest seizure of tusi ever made in Spain and was reportedly set to be sold in tourist areas of Madrid and Málaga.

SEE ALSO: Tusi: The Pink Drug Cocktail That Tricked Latin America

It comes after an even more significant seizure of 13 kilograms of tusi on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza last August. Twelve people were detained on the island, while another two people were arrested in Colombia. And in May, another Colombian was arrested for producing tusi in the Spanish capital.

Spain first saw tusi emerge in 2016, when nine people, including several Colombians, were detained operating two refining laboratories in the greater Madrid region. This version of tusi appeared to be made with ketamine, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

The name "tusi" is derived from "tusibi" or "2C-B," a drug first synthesized by a US chemist in the 1970s as part of a broader group of hallucinogenic phenethylamines called the 2C family. A major risk of tusi is that it does not refer to a single substance or a specific drug cocktail, as InSight Crime explained in a July 2022 investigation. Instead, it is a brand name that can be used to sell different combinations of drugs, as long as they are pink and in powdered form.

InSight Crime Analysis

The increasing popularity of tusi and the various ways in which it is produced could see it rapidly spread in Europe as it has in Latin America.

For the moment, most seizures have been in Spain's urban tourist centers, matching tusi's popularity among a wealthier and younger clientele. But it is already being found in other countries.

SEE ALSO: Synthetic Drugs Coverage

Last July, Colombian and Dominican citizens were arrested at Milan's Malpensa airport in Italy with a quantity of tusi on them.

The presence of South American traffickers and chemists bringing tusi into Europe is not surprising. It has seen strong demand in Colombian cities such as Medellín but has also been found in ChileArgentina, Uruguay, and beyond.

This also fits a pattern of traffickers from Mexico and Colombia helping to set up synthetic drug production facilities in Europe.

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.


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.


Related Content


A recent seizure of fentanyl in Mexico has shed further light on the capacity of organized crime groups to mass-produce…

AUC / 8 SEP 2021

As gold prices have skyrocketed, criminal groups once solely dedicated to the trafficking of drugs and arms have moved into…

COCAINE / 12 JAN 2022

The son of a former Paraguayan congressman has been accused of overseeing large cocaine shipments to Europe, illustrating how corrupt…

About InSight Crime


Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…


World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…


InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…


Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…


‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…