NEWS

Cocaine seizures hit 25-year high

cocaine-seizures-hit-25-year-high

Cocaine seizures in Greece in 2020 broke a 25-year record, according to the annual report of the Coordinating Body for Drug Prosecution (SODN) published on Thursday, while home deliveries by traffickers spiked in the lockdowns.

The report said that 1.7 tons of cocaine were seized last year by all law enforcement authorities in the country, which amounts to an 87% increase compared to 2019.

“This is the largest amount of cocaine seized on an annual basis in the last 25 years in Greece, and the second consecutive year that the seized quantities fluctuated at particularly high levels,” the SODN report said. 

The bulk of the confiscated drugs came from Latin America (89%) and arrived in Greece mainly hidden in containers with legal cargo, such as fresh fruit. Two such cases involved the seizure of 34 and 100 kilos of cocaine respectively in February and March in a container with bananas from Ecuador at the port of Piraeus. 

The report also pointed to Albanian-speaking criminal organizations as being mainly involved in cocaine trafficking with direct links to Latin American and Caribbean counterparts. Their basic methodology entails the establishment of shell companies to facilitate drugs trafficking and to legalize their income. Moreover, it said that significant quantities were transported to and from Greece by trucks through the port of Patra, as well as through Athens International Airport, with drug mules.

The price of cocaine in the illegal Greek market increased in 2020 and the estimated street value of the confiscated quantities exceeded 160 million euros, the report stated.

Tellingly, the report also said that due to the restrictions on movement due to Covid in the spring of 2020, the availability of certain drugs was disrupted. This led to shortages and higher prices, while dealers also offered 24-hour home delivery service to buyers’ homes.