Medellin Moves to Africa

West Africa's location and weak states have made the region an ideal route for smuggling drugs from South America to Europe. While the amount of investment needed to fight the problem is minimal, the cost of failing to act will be very high.

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

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