Thursday, August 11, 2005

UN: Crack Traffic Up in West Africa

Amsterdam News

Presenting a new threat to civil society, crack cocaine is turning up in West Africa as drug cartels from South America set up new shipping bases in the region.

United Nations experts say the dealers are lured by lax policing in an unstable region and the presence of small, underground criminal groups.

''If you look at recent seizures of cocaine, the biggest are all linked to groups with operations on the West African coast,'' said Antonio Mazzitelli, head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for West and Central Africa.

Spanish authorities seized nearly 3 tons of cocaine on a Ghana-registered vessel in international waters off the African coast last month, arresting 12 Ghanaians, four Koreans and two Spaniards.

Spain said the traffickers had picked up the drugs in an unidentified South American country and refueled along the African coast before setting off for Europe.

Major shipments of heroin produced in southern Asia were also transiting through West Africa, particularly Ivory Coast, after being flown by air couriers from Kenya and Ethiopia, UNODC said in a recent study on crime in Africa.

West Africa is seen as an attractive transit center for international drug traffickers because the criminal networks around the region have proven notoriously difficult for police and customs officers to break.

Drug cartels run a greater risk of having their shipments confiscated if they ship drugs directly to Western Europe from Latin America. Mazzitelli says cartels have been operating in West Africa for several years, using it as a point to transfer drugs to different ships. About 40 tons of cocaine has been seized from ships coming mainly from West African countries.

Mazzitelli says that the agency is concerned that the increased presence of drug cartels in the region will increase drug abuse in the region.''Some drugs trafficked remain in the transit countries and then is used for feeding a growing domestic market,'' he added. ''Several countries in West Africa have reported increased abuse of crack cocaine.''

Cape Verde, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have reported an increased use of crack cocaine in the past few years. Heroin from South Asia has not started to come into West Africa, but Mazzitelli does not rule it out as a future possibility.

The U.N. Office for Drugs and Crime is training doctors and other medical personnel to treat drug addicts, as there is no understanding of addiction as a disease in the region. In many cases, drug addicts are kept in psychiatric institutions.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mocked by Mullahs
's policy toward the Islamic Republic. It demonstrated, in case anyone still doubted it, the determination of a terrorist regime to get its hands on a nuclear bomb.

8/11/2005 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Busty Wilde said...


8/12/2005 09:00:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home