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Irish drug gangs gaining greater share of European cocaine market says EU’s crime agency
08 Sep 2021

Irish drug gangs are gaining a greater share of the European cocaine market according to intelligence compiled by the EU’s crime agency.

A report by Europol and the UN’s Drug Crime Office (UNODC) also says there is greater cooperation among crime groups, including the Kinahan cartel, and that cocaine seizures at Irish ports have increased along with a “significant” rise in supply.

Last year a separate study by the agency found that Ireland had the fifth-highest cocaine use in Europe, with numbers across the continent expected to increase from the 4.4m users in 2020.

The ‘Cocaine Insights 1’ report, citing Europol intelligence, said that Irish drug trafficking organisations (DTOs) “appear to be gaining greater shares of the cocaine market in Europe” along with other gangs.

It says that a shift in the south American crime landscape has also allowed new actors to become involved in the cocaine distribution, including “less prominent trafficking DTOs (that) also originate from Ireland, Poland and Serbia.”

Europol adds that there is a “new phenomenon” of increased cooperation between drug organisations in Europe.

“One example of an attempt at collusion among different groups may have been observed in 2017 in Dubai, involving individuals with ties to Irish, Italian, Bosnian and Dutch DTOs,” it states.

The meeting is a reference to the wedding of cartel leader Daniel Kinahan at the seven-star Burj al Arab hotel which was attended by a number of international criminals.

Among the guests were Chilean druglord Ricard ‘El Rico’ Vega, Dutch-Moroccan mobster Ridouan Taghi, and Italian Mafioso Raffaele Imperiale.

By Robin Schiller, The Irish Independent, 7 September 2021

Read more at The Irish Independent

Read the Cocaine Insights 1 report here

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