An unfamiliar country keeps popping up in press reports about drug trafficking: Guinea Bissau. This West African state of 1.5 million people is one of the poorest in the world. Its chief exports? Cashews, shrimp, and cocaine. Cocaine, in a country with no coca bush? That’s right.
More than four tons of cocaine have been seized in West Africa this year, a 35% increase over the entire haul for 2006. Drugs are also being seized in international waters off the Gulf of Guinea.
One reason why this region is becoming a major drug trafficking hub is its location. West Africa is an ideal staging point along the route from South America to the cocaine markets of Europe. Big shipments are hidden on fishing boats and freighters, then broken up into smaller
consignments that are sent by fast boats up the coast to Morocco or Spain.