[imagesource: Claudio Capellini / IrpiMedia]
It is becoming increasingly clear that in the UK specifically, cocaine is no longer just a ‘yuppie’ drug but one that people from all classes are using.
This is especially evident from the enormous cocaine shipments being seized in Britain, which until recently were considered unimaginable by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
The Guardian reports that Lawrence Gibbons, the drug threat lead for the NCA, has recognised that these hauls also point to a tendency for increased risk-taking by organised crime groups.
Most strikingly, British gangs are collaborating more with international crime groups, like Italy’s powerful ‘Ndrangheta mafia clan, which controls much of Europe’s cocaine trade:
Such a relationship [with the ’Ndrangheta mafia] allows British-based groups to tap into the huge buying power and contacts of one of the world’s richest criminal groups.
In 2013, Europol estimated the ’Ndrangheta’s turnover was £44bn — greater than McDonald’s and Deutsche Bank combined
That’s an insane turnover of about R890 billion, by the way.
In 2018, the ‘Ndrangheta’s annual turnover was estimated to be around a similar figure.
1 716 British organised criminal groups are involved in drugs supply, according to the NCA, and they’re using their connections to get the big jobs done:
[A number of them are] buy[ing] cocaine direct from the South American cartels using intermediaries or sources forged by the ’Ndrangheta, along with corrupt officials at ports like Rotterdam and Antwerp, where the drug often arrives into Europe.
This sort of organisation is what leads to massive seizes like the two-tonne cocaine shipment worth about £160 million on a yacht off south Devon a few days ago, with six men arrested.
The UK’s “war on drugs” continues to escalate, with home secretary Priti Patel urging police forces to “make an example” out of middle-class cocaine users by naming and shaming them.
You can read more about how cocaine is becoming less of a ‘yuppie’ drug here.
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