CROSSING THE LINE –  

May 6, 2022 – While most cocaine manufacturing still occurs in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, EU experts are worried by the processing now taking place inside the 27-nation bloc, particularly in Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands.

Between 2018 and 2020, 45 illicit production laboratories were discovered in the EU.

Speaking at a news conference in Brussels, Laurent Laniel, a scientific analyst at the EMCDDA, said that cocaine powder is often smuggled from South America to Europe in carrier materials such as charcoal and plastics, then extracted in local laboratories.

Alexis Goosdeel, the EMCDDA director, said the availability on the continent of large amounts of cocaine base and paste increases the risk of seeing new forms of highly addictive crack emerging on European markets.

“We are now facing a growing threat from a more diverse and dynamic drug market that is driven by closer collaboration between European and international criminal organizations,” he said. “This has resulted in record levels of drug availability, rising violence and corruption, and greater health problems.” 

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