Belgium is the cocaine capital of Europe. It is ridiculed by some for being boring and has now become Europe’s cocaine trafficking capital. Criminal groups from the Western Balkans have proved to be very entrepreneurial in 2020. The port of Antwerp accounted for 40 of all cocaine seizures in the EU cocaine is perhaps the ultimate criminal steroid. It’s brought Corruption of the local authorities and violence to the streets within 10 years we will end up having Narco state.
The happy thing can curb the wealth and power of the traffickers. June 2020 just outside the Belgian Port of Antwerp armed police are about to swoop on a warehouse. Inside they find shipping containers full of tools used by a sophisticated cocaine trafficking cartel. A torture cell complete with a dentist chair and sound insulation and a stash of fake police uniforms.
If you see that criminal organizations are putting in place containers with torturing. if you see that they are using uniforms to do their stuff this is of course frightening. For the import of cocaine into Europe from South America, Antwerp has emerged as a major center. In recent years there have been recorded and increasing seizures of cocaine at the port.
This one was a container with bananas coming from Colombia you can see here a darker Moss where we checked out two tons of cocaine shipping containers are the arteries of most International Trade. Legal and illegal the low-cost high volume advantages they give legitimate industries are equally valued by the most lucrative form of global criminal business drug trafficking
Here we have a little container that was found inside of a big container. It appeared to be full of drugs so not even hidden among other Goods just a whole small container filled with 11 tons of cocaine in 2021. Over 100 tons of cocaine were seized in Belgium that’s over one-fifth more than the Netherlands which seized the second-highest amount in the European Union.
Why Do Cocaine Traffickers Risk Using Antwerp For Repeat Business in cocaine capital of Europe?
Antwerp of Belgium is the cocaine capital of Europe. Because they like legitimate companies can rely on the infrastructure and Logistics that Europe’s second biggest and furthest Inland Seaport offers a huge variety of global Goods pass quickly through Antwerp and are distributed across the continent fast. Whether that product is coffee counterfeit or cocaine illicit markets operate in many of the same ways as illicit markets so the same ports are being used to smuggle.
Drugs are also the ones that were moving everything else in on average 12 million containers move in and out of Antwerp each year and only around two percent of containers are physically checked by the authorities. If you are a trafficker the opportunities for hiding drugs within this sheer volume of trade are ample and fruitful bananas are a very popular way to smuggle cocaine from Latin America to Europe. Because they are one of the main products that Latin American countries export to Europe and because bananas are perishable Goods so the pressure is on to rush them through customs.Belgium is the cocaine capital of Europe.
The traffickers decide to piggyback off this efficiency and play the numbers game the port of Antwerp makes its money. Because it can get a container off the ship and onto the transport to its next destination in a concise time. It’s simply not possible for them to search millions of containers and this is what the traffickers are depending on and have traditionally independent.
So whether you’re importing cocaine, meth-amphetamines, or counterfeit medicine the port of Antwerp is an excellent hub for Distributing across Europe. This makes it especially attractive for cocaine traffickers because consumption has increased in Europe over the last decade. Crucially it’s now a more lucrative market than North America Europe became a business no-brainer for cocaine traffickers because one the price is higher of a kilo of cocaine in Europe than in the United States to much less risk of interdiction and three much fewer risks of extradition so more Awards less risk.
Malicious Balkan Mafias in the cocaine capital of Europe
As Belgium is the cocaine capital of Europe. Many European mafias sought to exploit this profitable opportunity further by controlling more of the supply chain some carved out a reputation. For both reliability and extreme violence those from the Balkan countries such as Albania Croatia and Bosnia in the 1990s and 2000s. The Balkans endured years of war and conflict the destruction of economies pushed some towards crime. The Balkan mafias have taken the knowledge of violence and Toleration for violence from the Balkan War.
They had access to weapons they had language skills criminal groups from the Western Balkans have proved to be very entrepreneurial from heroin cannabis cultivation and human smuggling and tobacco smuggling to a more lucrative business. That is cocaine trafficking Vulcan traffickers together with other European mafias have proved resourceful importers in expanding shipment routes between South America and Europe.Belgium is the cocaine capital of Europe.
Previously cocaine would mainly travel from Colombia and enter Europe through its Southern ports Balkan Mafia groups traveled upstream and like a multinational with its subsidiaries have built connections all over Latin America. Including in new export countries such as Ecuador and also smuggled products using new routes through northern European ports
How Do Cocaine Mafias Make Profit from cocaine capital of Europe
These sophisticated transnational crime federations have boosted their profit by taking control of shipping from Latin America to Europe. In other words, they now control the whole supply chain the main profit margin in the cocaine industry is not in the retail sale it’s not in the production it is in the transport. Belgium is the cocaine capital of Europe. The markups for production the profits are about 150 percent the retail markup is about 300 percent the transport marker depending on where you go to Europe it is 1500.
Customs Corruption in the cocaine capital of Europe
Belgium is the cocaine capital of Europe. Unlike normal businesses, cocaine traffickers can deploy extreme violence to ensure product delivery and they can also employ corruption as shown by the Albanian Kingpin Driten Rajepi is without any doubt the successful model of the Balkan criminal’s Cocaine emissaries in Latin America. It is believed that there are JP arrived in Ecuador in 2011 after he escaped prison in Belgium.
Driten Rajepi was imprisoned in Ecuador in 2014 but that didn’t stop him running a highly profitable cocaine Empire. His enormous profit meant he could afford to buy off officials not only in Latin America but also in wealthy European countries. Journalist artisan Hoja has interviewed Rajepi.
Landings in Antwerp cost the organization 20 to 24 of their cargo. So if they shipped 100 kilograms from Ecuador they would pay bribes for 20 to 24 kilograms of product or the equivalent in cash foreign vast profits have allowed traffickers to increase the budgets they have for bribery. The kind of Corruption of officials traditionally associated with poorer countries is becoming increasingly common in Europe. If you’re trafficking cocaine and you’re making these quite remarkable levels of profit then that just becomes a cost of sales.
Belgium is the cocaine capital of Europe. There was a hope that with the possibility of countries from the Western Balkans joining the European Union. The Western Balkans would come to look more like the EU what we see is that in some countries of the EU they’re starting to look more like the Western Balkans.
Back in Belgium, this is a problem the head of Customs freely admits to traffickers have bribed Port officials to turn a blind eye to Containers full of cocaine arriving at Antwerp. Today I have two people who are in jail because they supported criminal organizations you help them say this container you don’t put it on this part of the terminal you put it in another place you can earn 50 000 Euros. It’s easy money and there are worrying signs in this corner of Europe that corruption extends Beyond Port. Workers right up to the top remember this container full of 11 tons of cocaine with a street value of up to three-quarters of a billion euros.
The seizure led to the arrest of the former head of Antwerp’s anti-narcotics section three police officers and a lawyer. Big corporations often Lobby politicians and traffickers deploy a different kind of pressure group because if a bribe isn’t an option the bullet is the mayor of Antwerp. Needed 24 7 police protection after speaking out against drug mafia. They have the money to influence politics and so on so what is the worrying part for me in this War on Drugs is what cocaine has done in South America one should not be naive what is possible in South America is also possible in Europe.
How Can Belgium End its Cocaine Trade?
As Belgium is the cocaine capital of Europe. Despite Belgian police launching their largest-ever operation against organized crime in 2021. The head of Customs has little faith the traffickers can be stopped at present the effect on the criminal organization remains minor we seize a lot with the prices on the marketplace. They remain the same so what can be done to Halt this vast illegal trade coming through Belgium those working in enforcement argue more and better resources are essential for taking on the traffickers.
Belgian Customs officers want the ability to scan 100 containers coming into the country if not enough means are put available to the law enforcement agencies here then within 10 years we will end up having Narco state in Antwerp.
As Belgium is the cocaine capital of Europe,Others argue a more coordinated international response is needed to the global phenomenon of illicit trafficking. This requires good transnational cooperation. At the moment the criminals cooperate much more effectively than the police but curbing will take more than improved enforcement globalization has led to a quadrupling of the number of containers over the last 20 years across the world opportunities for hiding and trading. Criminal cargos are endless. if we weren’t one thing about the so-called War on Drugs it is that International criminals have an unlimited capacity for adaptation.
Legalizing Drugs is The Only Way!!
As Belgium is the cocaine capital of Europe, to tackle drug trafficking a rethink is needed about what should be considered criminal which will require a radical change of strategy by the government towards focusing on Medical Solutions to drug use and legalizing production and distribution. To break the gangster’s grip over the drug business. The great hope is that you take away fast financial resources from some of the worst people on earth the War on Drugs cannot be won as a war.
Law enforcement agencies estimate they only catch around 10 percent of the total cocaine smuggled through Antwerp. Their business model is to ship massively in as many containers as possible and then they know okay we’re going to lose the 10 or 20 percent. Few Industries could survive such a loss of product.
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