WikiLeaks: Mexican Groups Now Control European Drug Routes

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A U.S. government cable from Madrid, Spain, released by the whistle-blower site WikiLeaks and republished by InSight, says the Mexican criminal organizations now dominate the Spanish drug trafficking routes from Latin America. 

If true, this is a shift away from the Colombian groups, who long controlled what has become the world’s most lucrative drug consuming market.

The United Nations estimates there are between 4.5 and 5 million cocaine users in Europe, compared to about 7 million users in the United States. Most of these European users are concentrated in Great Britain, Italy and Spain. And drug trafficking organizations can earn nearly double the money per gram sold in Europe.

The cable, dated 9 July 2009, quotes Spanish Customs’ Director Nicolas Bonilla as telling Department of Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano during her visit to that country that, “Mexicans were replacing Colombians as cocaine traffickers to Spain.”

The shift of trafficking toward Europe has had far reaching consequences in Latin America. Trade routes have moved east and go through Venezuela, and Caribbean islands such as Aruba, and Trinidad and Tobago; and southeast through Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.

Coca production and the manufacturing of cocaine are also rising in Peru and Bolivia, where Mexican organizations are gaining an increasingly large foothold from the point of production through the transit nations.

InSight Crime has highlighted noteworthy sections of the cable below.

Full Cable:

TED3146
ACTION EUR-00

INFO  LOG-00   EEB-00   AF-00    AID-00   ACQ-00   CPR-00   INL-00  
DODE-00  DOTE-00  WHA-00   PERC-00  PDI-00   DS-00    EAP-00  
DHSE-00  OIGO-00  FAAE-00  VCI-00   DIAS-00  FRB-00   H-00    
TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    LAB-01   ARMY-00  MOFM-00  MOF-00  
VCIE-00  NEA-00   DCP-00   NSAE-00  NIMA-00  GIWI-00  SCT-00  
DOHS-00  FMPC-00  SP-00    IRM-00   SSO-00   SS-00    NCTC-00 
CBP-00   DSCC-00  PRM-00   DRL-00   SCA-00   NFAT-00  SAS-00  
FA-00    SWCI-00  SANA-00    /001W
——————88EA99  090807Z /38   
P 090645Z JUL 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0904
HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
INFO EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY
AMCONSUL BARCELONA PRIORITY
CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
DEA HQS WASHDC PRIORITY
DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
FBI WASHDC PRIORITY
NCTC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
TSA HQ WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
US SECRET SERVICE WASHDC PRIORITY
USDAO MADRID SP PRIORITY
USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L MADRID 000673

SIPDIS

FOR EUR/WE, EUR/NB, EUR/ERA, INR, WHA/MEX, WHA/AND
PASS TO MARC FREY, DAVE GORDNER, KIKO CORTI, MIKE
SCARDAVILLE OF DHS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/09/2019
TAGS: PREL PINS PTER PINR KHLS KCIP KCRM SP PGOV
SUBJECT: SPAIN: DHS SEC. NAPOLITANO’S MEETINGS WITH CABINET
MINISTERS

REF: A. MADRID 671
¶B. MADRID 614

Classified By: Charge D’Affaires Arnold A. Chacon for reasons 1.4 (b) a
nd (d)

¶1. (C) SUMMARY. In addition to the meetings described in Ref
A, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano held meetings on July 1
with Spain’s Second Vice President, Elena Salgado, who also
serves as Minister of Economy and Finance, Interior Minister
Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, and Justice Minister Francisco
Caamano. While the meeting with the Ministry of Economy and
Finance focused on combating financial and customs crimes,
the meetings at the Ministry of Interior addressed several
ways to strengthen bilateral and U.S.-EU cooperation. Talks
with the Justice Minister centered around GOS efforts to
revitalize the transatlantic agenda during its EU Presidency
in early 2010 and on the reforms to Spain’s “universal
jurisdiction” law. Embassy Madrid’s Charge d’Affaires Chacon
and DHS/ICE Attache Alvarez accompanied the Secretary and her
delegation, which included Chief of Staff Noah Kroloff, U/S
Beers, A/S Smith, DAS Koumans. END SUMMARY.

//MEETING WITH SECOND VP AND MINISTER OF ECONOMY AND FINANCE
SALGADO//

¶2. (U) The Secretary discussed financial and customs crimes
with Salgado and her staff, which included Secretary of State
for Economy (vice minister) Jose Manuel Campa, DG of the
Treasury Soledad Nunez, Customs Director Nicolas Bonilla,
Customs Deputy Director for Investigation and Enforcement
Maria Vicenta Abad, Deputy DG of Inspection and Control of
Capital Movements Juan Vega, and Ministerial advisor Rufino
de la Rosa. The GOS delegation praised existing bilateral
cooperation and expressed a desire to continue strengthening
it. Campa explained that the GOS planned to submit to the
Congress in the next two weeks draft legislation to implement
an EU Directive on money laundering and terrorist financing.
(Comment: Press reports indicate that this is the third
directive, 2005/60/CE, which was supposed to have been
implemented by December 2007.) The legislation also would
contain language designed to prevent money laundering through
the purchase of GOS bonds. Salgado noted that Spain chaired
a European regional working group in this area and was
working closely with the USG.

¶3. (SBU) Customs Director Bonilla cited three areas of
cooperation with the USG. Controlled deliveries of cash and
the Container Security Initiative (CSI) in the ports of
Algeciras, Barcelona, and Valencia were working well, and the
GOS hoped the CSI could be expanded to additional ports. The
“Hands Across the World” operation against bulk cash
smuggling held June 10-16 at Madrid’s Barajas airport was
successful in catching illegal couriers and in deterring such
activity. The USG also provided useful information on many
cocaine shipments. In response to a question from the
S ecretary, Salgado noted her concern regarding cocaine
trafficking and consumption dating from her earlier service
as Health Minister. Bonilla said Mexicans were replacing
Colombians as cocaine traffickers to Spain. Representatives
of his service and ICE had traveled together to Colombia to
open communication channels with GOC officials. Bonilla said
the GOS also had a productive bilateral exchange with Mexican
officials. The Secretary and Minister Salgado agreed to
expand cooperation to address the trafficking of drugs and
cash from Colombia and Mexico to the U.S. and Spain. The
S ecretary indicated Madrid ICE Attache Luis Alvarez would
have the lead for DHS.

¶4. (SBU) Treasury DG Nunez noted that the draft law
implementing the EU money laundering directive would create a
database with names and account numbers for all financial
accounts. At present, in order to freeze assets, the GOS
needed to ask all of the co3″Q> 3azen, such as judicial orders
based on probable cause to suspect tax fraud. Nunez also noted
GOS support for the EC’s proposal on SWIFT data exchange to
fight terrorist finance.

¶5. (SBU) Secretary Napolitano asked whether proceeds from
human trafficking were treated the same way as drug proceeds
under Spanish law and in terms of the database. Treasury
official Vega indicated that Spanish law defined money
laundering broadly, so that operations involving proceeds
from human trafficking could be considered money laundering.
Salgado believed the database could be used in searches for
proceeds from human trafficking and thought language was
included in the draft law that would allow this. (Comment:
The Vice President did not appear certain.)

//MEETING WITH INTERIOR MINISTER RUBALCABA//

¶6. (C) Secretary Napolitano stated that the USG was
interested in working with Spain to negotiate an agreement on
data privacy that could lead to a US-EU information-sharing
accord signed during Spain’s 2010 EU Presidency. Rubalcaba
said for years there has been interest within the EU in doing
this, but that the early 2009 Czech Presidency “basically
wasted six months.” Rubalcaba suggested that he would talk
to his counterpart in Sweden, which took the EU late 2009
Presidency that day, to coordinate with Stockholm the
relaunch US-EU talks during the Swedish Presidency in hopes
that negotiations could conclude either during the Swedish or
the Spanish EU Presidencies. Rubalcaba appeared supportive
of reaching an agreement, but cautioned that cumbersome EU
red tape – and the need for consensus among the 27
member-states before the bloc negotiates with the USG – would
make this timeline difficult to achieve.

¶7. (C) The Secretary offered to work with the Department of
State to supply a DHS official – for a six- to nine-month
tour in anticipation of and during the Spanish EU Presidency
– to work in Rubalcaba’s Ministry to address these U.S.-EU
issues and to strengthen bilateral efforts to combat
terrorism, human trafficking, and drug smuggling. The
Minister said he was delighted the Secretary accepted the
proposal he had made during his visit to Washington the
previous week and said that a similar program with a German
Ministry of Interior official had been enormously productive
for Spain. The Minister suggested the sooner this could be
arranged, the better, but he also went out of his way that
the GOS was not looking for anyone to supplant the role of
the ICE Attache office in U.S. Embassy Madrid and emphasized
that the workload would be different. Rubalcaba also made a
pitch for two or three Civil Guard officials to travel to the
United States for a briefing on how the U.S. Coast Guard
operates. The Secretary replied she would be more than happy
to have DHS work with the Spanish on this.

¶8. (C) The Secretary and Rubalcaba also signed a declaration
of principles to formalize the presence of three CBP officers
who have been working at Madrid’s Barajas Airport as part of
the Department’s Immigration Advisory Program (IAP). The
accord allows IAP to continue operations following a
successful pilot. During a joint press conference following
the signing of the agreement, Rubalcaba said that the GOS did
not rule out the possibility that the program could be
expanded to other Spanish airports.

//MEETING WITH JUSTICE MINISTER CAAMANO//

¶9. (C) Caamano informed the Secretary that the GOS – during
its EU presidency – was planning to revitalize the
transatlantic agenda. He said he was aware of some USG
concerns about the EU position on data protection and
explained that the EU was looking for a balance of privacy
guarantees and security concerns. The Secretary agreed with
the initiative to promote cooperation between both the USG
and GOS and the USG and the EU. She added that there was a
lot of information that could and should be shared. She
suggested that there must be a way to strike the balance the
Minister had described and told Caamano that she had offered
to provide a DHS official on TDY to the Ministry of Interior
to help resolve this and other issues. Asked whether
combating cybercrime and promoting cybersecurity would be
included in Spain’s transatlantic agenda initiative, the
Minister replied that that he thought that it would. The
Secretary encouraged this to be a priority item and
highlighted that these types of crimes do not respect
national boundaries. Caamano said the EU had been working on
some framework decisions to allow member-states to be more
effective in combating cybercrime and indicated that perhaps
regulatory reforms could be established to close down servers
that systematically violate intellectual property rights.

¶10. (C) The Secretary inquired as to the status of Spain’s
“universal jurisdiction” doctrine, to which Caamano replied
that the practical application of universal jurisdiction –
which is very popular in Spain – had caused problems for the
GOS with other democratic countries. The Minister explained
how the lower house of the Spanish parliament recently had
passed a bill which would prevent Spain from becoming “the
guardian of the world.” He elaborated that the reform –
which still had not received approval from the Senate – would
establish that the Spanish judiciary could not open a case
involving crimes against humanity if another country already
had begun its own investigation. Also, the reform would
establish that there must be a link between the crime and
Spanish interests, such as an incident involving Spanish
citizens. The Minister pointed out that the National Court
had recently dismissed a Spanish “universal jurisdiction”
case involving Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in 2002
after Israel opened its own investigation into the matter.

¶11. (SBU) The DHS delegation has cleared this cable.
CHACON …

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