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Spain: Europe’s new cocaine gateway

Spain: Europe’s new cocaine gateway

The confrontational attitude of the drug gangs that traffic hashish in La Línea de la Concepción, in the south of Spain, has dominated news headlines and political agendas after a recent spate of drug-related violence plunged the Campo de Gibraltar area into crisis.

But just 20 kilometers from Gibraltar, in the port city of Algeciras, huge amounts of cocaine are discreetly entering into Spain. With the media’s attention focused on Gibraltar, Algeciras has become one of the main entry points for the narcotic into the rest of Europe.

Among the four million containers that arrive every year at the port, thousands of kilos of cocaine, mostly from Colombia, are camouflaged between bananas, frozen chickens, or simply stuffed in backpacks.

According to the latest report from the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), published just days ago, the circulation of cocaine is higher than ever. And they have the data to prove it. The amount of cocaine seized in 2016 (the latest year with available data) was over 1,000 tons – an unprecedented figure. And the number of hectares used to grow coca has smashed all the records. Cocaine trafficking, the UN warns, has reached epidemic proportions.