Newsbriefing – Week of 24 June

Senegalese customs have seized over a tonne of cocaine hidden inside cars on a ship in Dakar port. The ship was traveling from Brazil to Angola. Authorities first seized 238 kilos of cocaine, before discovering an additional 750 kilos of the drug. Drug seizures are on the rise in West African countries, which are used by drug smugglers as transhipment points along the cocaine route from Latin America to Europe. Last January, Cape Verde seized almost 10 tonnes of cocaine in the region’s biggest haul ever.

Spanish police discovered 39 kilos of cocaine in the luggage of a member of the Brazilian air force. The suspect was traveling on the military delegation tasked with protecting president Jair Bolsonaro during the G20 Summit in Japan. Earlier this month, Bolsonaro enacted a new drug policy design to toughen penalties for drug traffickers.

Brazil’s Federal Revenue Office has seized over 808 kilos of cocaine heading to Antwerp aboard cargo ship in the port of Suape. The illicit drug was wrapped in coffee powder and hidden inside three banana containers to foil detection dogs.

Greek authorities have seized the largest quantity of Captagon pills in the country’s law enforcement history. The drug had been stashed inside lumber products on a freighter coming from Syria and transiting in Athens.

Dutch police have seized 2.5 tonnes of methamphetamine worth hundreds of millions in Rotterdam. This is Europe’s biggest seizure of the drug. The police investigation also led to the discovery of almost 20.000 litres of chemicals used to wash cocaine and make synthetic drugs. The drug was probably destined for export.

South Pacific islands are becoming major transit hubs for drugs along the cocaine route between Latin America and Australia. Countries such as Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga and New Caledonia have been used as storage grounds for drugs for decades, but illicit traffic has dramatically increased since 2014 with 7.5 tonnes of drug seizure by Australian authorities in the last five years. Drug addiction as well as associated gang violence, crime and police corruption is also on the rise.