THE tidal wave of cocaine engulfing Europe has seen its price nearly halve in Spain due to overproduction in Latin American countries.
An enormous surge in cocaine shipments through ports like Valencia, Algeciras, and Barcelona – bound for the European market – has dramatically increased supply and reduced the drug’s value.
The price of cocaine in Spain has now plummeted from around €33,000 per kilo to €18,000.
Spanish police and customs officials partially attribute the trend to the ban on chemical fumigation of plantations in countries like Colombia.
The oversupply comes despite 2023 shaping up to break all records in cocaine seizures, pending official data from the Ministry of the Interior.
The Policia Nacional have already seized an estimated 20 tons more than last year, with Spanish police’s anti-drug department UDYCO (Brigada Central de la Unidad de Droga y Crimen Organizado) confirming the disturbing trend.
Customs Surveillance has also reported a doubling of seizures in the past twelve months, with two operations at ports in Vigo and Valencia resulting in the record seizure of eleven tons of cocaine.
Antonio Martínez, the counter narcotics chief of the UDYCO, said the two operations ‘have nothing to do with each other’ other than they suspect that ‘behind both are organisations of Albanian origin.’
Gustavo Petro, the president of Colombia, even congratulated Spanish authorities on their find.
“Eleven tonnes of cocaine produced in Colombia were seized by the Spanish government. Congratulations,” he wrote on Twitter.
Prior to that, in the autumn a ship bound for Algeciras was intercepted at sea transporting an enormous nine tonnes of cocaine.
Much of the European market is thought to be dominated by drug clans from Albania and other regions of the Balkans in cahoots with cartels in Colombia and Ecuador.
During the seizures in Vigo and Valencia, 20 people from Albania were arrested, along with a Colombian.
Worldwide, a whopping 196 tonnes of the white stuff have been seized under ‘Operation Orion’, a multinational operation that involved the Guardia Civil.
It was the eighth time Spanish law enforcement have participated in the operation, which has seen 12 editions.
This time it involved 101 agencies and militaries from 41 countries operating across the waters of the Pacific, Atlantic, and the Caribbean Sea.
On top of the coke seizures, 175.6 tons of marijuana, and 16.6 tons of hashish were also confiscated globally.
The global operation is estimated to have dealt a financial blow to international drug networks worth a staggering $7.8 billion.
Yet despite the success of such an international counter narcotics collaboration, more cocaine is reading the streets of Europe than ever.