WEST AFRICA: Drug Trade Becoming Increasingly Sophisticated: UN
The drugs trade in West Africa is going the way of Mexico, with local players increasingly taking control of an ever more sophisticated system to smuggle cocaine into the rich market to the north, the United Nations said.
The amount of cocaine bound for Europe seized in West Africa has dropped in recent years, but that only means the trade is getting more sophisticated, said Alexandre Schmidt, West African head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)..
[...] The flow of cocaine through West Africa's fragile states to Europe has shot up the international law enforcement agenda, with experts warning the trade risks corrupting states, spreading instability and crippling the region's economies.
At around $800 million, the value of the drugs passing through West Africa in 2009 was equivalent to large chunks of the economies of some countries in the region.
[...] "This is a new tendency, and what we are seeing in West Africa is like what we saw in Mexico," he said, citing the way in which Mexicans increasingly displaced Colombians in the ferrying of Andean cocaine to the United States. Reuters Africa (21 June 2011)