Magazine article Insight on the News

Colombian Drug Cartels Find Trading Partners in Russia

Magazine article Insight on the News

Colombian Drug Cartels Find Trading Partners in Russia

Article excerpt

The connection between Russian organized-crime mobs and Colombia's Cali cartel -- a link first detailed in the United States by Insight -- appears to be growing apace. In the first week of July, Spanish authorities seized 10 metric tons of cocaine on a Russian-owned ship southwest of the Canary Islands. It is believed to be the biggest haul of coke ever seized by European police.

The coke from Colombia was heading for a Spanish port. Two hundred kilograms (440 pounds) of heroin also were seized. The successful operation provides further evidence of Spain's pivotal position in a growing drag trade between Colombia and Europe. Thirty-one percent of all cocaine seizures in Europe last year were made in Spain.

The presence of Latin American heroin aboard the ship is significant. Until recently, nearly all Colombian heroin was produced for the U.S. market and most heroin supplies into Europe originated in southwest Asia and were transported via Turkey and through the Balkans. The seizure suggests two things: first, that a rival heroin-trafficking network is being established and, second, that Latin American heroin producers have such large quantities of the drug on hand that they need to diversify their sales to Europe. …

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