Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels


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What is beginning to unfold before us, in the English-speaking Caribbean, is that criminal organizations, not mere clusters, are establishing, if they have not already done so, a series of trafficking points in the Caribbean, to move products like cocaine to North America and Europe. Figueira as much as says that we must not fool ourselves into believing that we are immune from infiltration by the established narcotics organizations, like the cartels of Columbia, Venezuela and Mexico.

And that they have arrived is borne out by the frequency and size of cocaine seizures in the Caribbean. It is as if the narcotics organizations, have sensed the vulnerability of these island territories, not least being the still weak, though developing, security measures in the region. Last we get caught up in believing that places like Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, because of their size, are more susceptible to being enticed into major roles in this billion dollar trade, think again. Now I see him as self-aggrandizing and passing himself off as some kinda expert, when in reality he playing loose with all kinda facts.

He did also say that the Mexicans control the Peruvian cocaine production, so in fairness to him maybe that was the implication. You could find yourself in Guantanamo Bay. He throws out "Operation Martillo", but in his ignorance he fails to make the connection as to why the traffickers are taken to Guantanamo Bay. It's only natural that they'd be the ones to get involved. Guantanamo Bay is not only home to the infamous detention facility, but home to a thriving Naval base in existence for over a hundred years.

In fact, the detention camp is only 11 or 12 years old Doh get the Cubans too excited for no reason.


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See if you can parse from it the "American methodology". And he's clear in describing it as "simple" Except we don't get the benefit of that insight Similarly, he was asked about why the Mexican cartels would want to ship their meth from Mexico all the way down to Trinidad. He never answered, instead he went on a Sunday drive about how the Mexican cartels operate and how they are different from the Colombians, and how they all in China.

One might be tempted to inquire about the price of tea there, in deciphering just what the hell this man talking about. Perhaps he meant the Mexican cartels' cocaine coming up from Peru, but he never explained. Another explanation might be Operation Martillo and the effect it has had on the shipment of drugs off the coast of Central America and in the Caribbean Sea.

Read More From Daurius Figueira

Arms of Italian, Nigerian and Lebanese organised crime had long established operational bases throughout the Caribbean Basin headquartered in Venezuela. The same is true for the Mexican cartels. The primary question was then the means to be used to move the product across the Atlantic to West Africa, security for the product stored in West Africa and the means to move this product to Europe and eventually to Asia. The transportation issue was defined by the technology available i. Aircraft with the fuel storage capacity to deliver an economic load, usually one metric tonne of product and above, were the obvious choice.

This meant that the sky was the limit given the level of impunity enjoyed at designated landing sites in West Africa.

Sea transportation though slower enabled the movement of multiple metric tonnes across the Atlantic, but sea transport of multiple metric tonnes made acute the issue of impunity, storage and the means to transport multiple tonnes to the consuming states of Europe and Asia. It is the apparent that the politics of the states of West Africa and the level of development of transportation links to Europe influence the choice of states in which to create operational trafficking bases.

But drug traffickers choose states for entirely different reasons as there is no operational homogeneity amongst Caribbean Basin DTOs. A Caribbean Basin DTO will from time to time purchase and ship their own product and dispose of it for themselves.

In the Caribbean Basin today there are few producers of product who also traffick their product and those that do are the apex players of the Caribbean basin DTOs. Production of cocaine is dominated by powerful interests who hold on to the manufacturing base to ensure their sustainability in the business as there is no manufacturing without a supply of coca paste and coca paste is useless without production of cocaine hydrochloride.

By November it became apparent publicly that Caribbean Basin DTOs had implemented a decision to acquire and move product across the Atlantic to West Africa via jet aircraft as reported via online news reports on Telegraph.

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A Boeing aircraft loaded with product landed on a dirt landing strip in North East Mali, offloaded and crashed on takeoff. The multi-tonne cargo was not interdicted and the flight was reported to have originated from Venezuela. A Reuters online news report carried on Yahoo news dated 13th January reported that on January 10th a Gulfstream jet was photographed at the Guinea Bissau International Airport.

The Valencia-Arbelaez organisation was reportedly involved in moving product to West Africa via six aircraft in operation. The sting operation on this organisation involved the purchase of a jet aircraft to move product between Venezuela and Guinea. In November at a meeting in Spain with a DEA confidential source Valencia-Arbalaez indicated that his organisation was presently operating from a military airfield in Guinea supported by a functional operational presence in Guinea.

Valencia-Arbalaez pled guilty in keeping with the rule within the game but the salient reality is that he was arrested by the US as a result of the deal with the DEA confidential source to ship kilos of cocaine to the US. In the absence of a conspiracy or actual shipment of illicit drugs to US territory there is no US intervention. A DTO based in Colombia and Liberia was shattered when one of its planes loaded with two tons of cocaine preparing to leave Venezuela was interdicted.

One of the defendants claimed that five aircraft were already deployed. Drug flights have now multiple departure points from Latin America, Venezuela is no longer the major departure point with Brazil and Panama being major players today. An abcnews. These court cases in were as follows: the Valencia Arbalaez organisation, a trafficking ring based in Colombia and Liberia dismantled in May when an aircraft loaded with two tons of cocaine was interdicted in Venezuela and three men of Sierra Leone arrested during their search for airstrips and an operational structure to move 4 tons of cocaine by air from South America to West Africa.

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The question remains how long were trans-Atlantic flights moving product to West Africa before this reality was placed in the public domain? I dare say at the height of the civil wars of West Africa purported humanitarian aid flights were in fact drug flights. The strategic decision to invest in jet aircraft not only indicates the value of the European drug trade but also the necessity to evade interdiction efforts mounted by the EU and in turn the drive to exploit the glaring weaknesses of West African states.

The state capacity in West Africa simply does not exist to track and intercept increasing drug flights in fact in this strategic picture the risk of interdiction of product going into West Africa creates no discernible need for drastic and dramatic measures of risk aversion in In the smuggling of product via containerised cargo from various Latin American ports to various ports in a number of West African states is now apparent as shipments of cocaine hidden especially in machinery have been interdicted shipped from Argentina and Brazil.

This method adds to the smuggling methodologies unleashed another one being the swarm of swallowers moving from Latin America to Africa and Europe especially from Brazil. Brazil is today the primary jump off point for swallowers and mules moving cocaine to West Africa. The primary reality is the methodologies utilised to move product from West Africa to Europe.

Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the Era of the Mexican Cartels

Organised crime groups move product from North Africa utilising small aircraft that fly under the radar to landing strips in South West Europe or by air drops in remote areas of South West Europe. A report in Worldpress. This smuggling route is under the hegemony of European organised crime with the Ndrangheta of Italy taking the lead role in a working alliance with Albanian organised crime, Greek organised crime, organised crime groups of the former state of Yugoslavia and the Russian Maffia.

The sophistication of smuggling methodologies utilised indicates that the West African DTOs have set up shop for the long haul. The basis of this sophistication is its diversity as risk is spread over a growing variety of smuggling methodologies towards the maximisation of profit and the minimising of interdiction risk.

We are not immune

This impact is directly linked to the level of investment made by the Caribbean Basin DTOs in creating and maintaining this drug pipeline to Europe. One indicator of the level of investment is the rank of the very small number of the leadership of the DTOs arrested so far in West Africa. Solano Cortez Jorge of Colombia was arrested in Togo in possession of kilos of cocaine and extradited to the US in The diverse nationalities of the staff indicated the globalised nature of illicit trafficking in West Africa as it is in the Caribbean.

Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels
Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels
Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels
Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels
Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels
Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels
Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels
Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels
Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the era of the Mexican cartels

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