According to the biannual crime report released by the European Police Office, or Europol, Mexican groups are increasingly trafficking cocaine to Europe’s traditional entry points, Spain and Portugal.
Most cocaine still enters Europe via Spain from Colombia, the report says, but there has been a “reported increase” in cocaine trafficking directly from Mexico.
This would indicate that Mexican traffickers, now in control of their own smuggling routes to Europe, are keeping the bulk of the profits from these cocaine shipments. This is another sign of the decline of the role played by Colombian cartels in the international cocaine market, and the increased power and wealth of the Mexicans.
With interdiction rates up and attention fixed on the U.S. border, Europe is an important emerging market for Mexican cartels like the Zetas, who allegedly control a smuggling route to Europe via West Africa.
In Colombia, the European market has been co-opted by Daniel Barrera, alias “El Loco,” and his principal business allies, the Popular Anti-Terrorist Army of Colombia (Ejercito Revolucionario Popular Anti-terrorista de Colombia – ERPAC) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC).
“Colombian groups continue to play a key role in supplying EU groups including the ‘Ndrangheta in Italy, while intelligence indicates that proceeds from cocaine trafficking to the EU finance the activities of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC),” says the Europol report.