Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The fight continues

Thousands of kilos of cocaine have arrived this summer in Spain but not all of it is coming in via the southern coast. Since the beginning of August, in only three weeks, the police and the Civil Guard have seized more than eight tons of this substance. Most has been seized in Galicia. The rest has been found in Barcelona and Valencia, where only yesterday the police seized 318 kilos which was hidden in 292 planks of wood.

The Galician route, which was the main entrance from cocaine to Spain, seemed to have become dormant. For several years now the seizures have been small in comparison with those in the nineties.

The police knew that the Colombian narcotics traffickers had changed their tactics and were concentrating in western Africa; a place where it is easier to land the drugs without detection. However, in Africa drugs bring very little revenue, so it is necessary to import them in Europe which is more difficult. This is the reason that they are back to landing the drugs in Galicia.

Narcotics traffickers always try to use routes they consider safe which why they have returned to using the Galician route more extensively - they thought that monitoring there had ceased. The truth is it never actually stopped; last year more than a thousand kilos were seized in less than two weeks during July and a fishing boat was found with 2,500 kilos at the end of July.

In a combined-arms operation with the United States DEA, 1,400 kilos were seized in Barcelona. And last week, "el Mulo", another historical route for drug trafficking in Galicia, was stopped in an operation that included four tons of cocaine. On this occasion the traffickers were surprised by a Customs' helicopter .

So the fight goes on. Whilst there is a huge market for cocaine in Europe, the drugs barons of Columbia will continue to find ways to ship the stuff via countries like Spain. The police try to be one step ahead. Although they can't stop the trafficking, at least they can slow it down.

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