Irish Examiner

Mexican drug cartels found ‘cooking’ meth in Europe

- Cormac O’Keeffe

Mexican ‘cooks’ are cooking crystal meth in undergroun­d laboratori­es in Europe as cartels from South America increasing­ly break into the European market, it has been revealed.

They are contributi­ng to the “hyper availabili­ty” and “hyper production” of drugs in Europe, according to Alexis Goosdeel, head of the EU drugs agency.

The physical involvemen­t of the notorious cartels in European countries, cooking the highly addictive drug — as featured in the hit US TV series Breaking Bad — has raised serious concerns among the law enforcemen­t agencies affected.

“Today, drugs are everywhere,” Mr Goosdeel told an event hosted as part of the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs. “What we see in Europe is hyper availabili­ty and hyper production.”

He said the EU’s role in drug production has expanded beyond MDMA (ecstasy) to laboratori­es producing amphetamin­e and methamphet­amine, also known as crystal meth.

Mr Goosdeel, director of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), said the production of methamphet­amine has attracted the “involvemen­t of Mexican cartels”.

There were reports last December that Dutch police had arrested Mexican

nationals in a number of drug operations, including one at a floating laboratory where Mexican cooks were producing crystal meth.

Some of the Mexican nationals were linked to the violent Jalisco New Generation cartel.

It has been reported that the cartels were breaking into the European market, providing experience­d Mexican “cooks” and chemicals sourced from China to Dutch gangs.

Mr Goosdeel, speaking at an event on the EU’s drugs strategy 2021-2025, said that a lesson from the Covid-19 pandemic was that the drugs market was “extremely resilient” and that the global flow of drugs “remains unchanged”.

He said the market is characteri­sed by “increasing violence and corruption”, and that there were signs of increasing associated mental health problems, particular­ly among the young.

Georgios Raskos, part of the Serious and Organised Crime Unit of Europol, the

EU police agency, said drug traffickin­g is the “cornerston­e” of organised crime groups in Europe.

He said that, despite the impact Covid-19 restrictio­ns had on people’s social life, it did not have a decisive impact on drug gangs.

He said growing features of organised crime gangs were violence, corruption, document fraud and use of encrypted communicat­ion.

Mr Raskos said these gangs “do not hesitate” in targeting law enforcemen­t officers or using violence in public places.

He also said the gangs were earning extensive profits, running into tens of billions of euro a year, but “very little” was being detected or recovered.

 ?? Picture: Dan Linehan ?? Kieran and Patricia Murphy, Aghada enjoying the freedom of being able to travel to Ballycotto­n, Co Cork.
Picture: Dan Linehan Kieran and Patricia Murphy, Aghada enjoying the freedom of being able to travel to Ballycotto­n, Co Cork.
 ?? Picture: Dan Linehan ?? Taking a walk in the harbour were Emily Lynch, Midleton, and Killian Harte, Cobh, at Ballycotto­n, Co Cork.
Picture: Dan Linehan Taking a walk in the harbour were Emily Lynch, Midleton, and Killian Harte, Cobh, at Ballycotto­n, Co Cork.
 ??  ?? Mexican ‘cooks’ are cooking crystal meth in labs across Europe as cartels from South America seek to break into the European market.
Mexican ‘cooks’ are cooking crystal meth in labs across Europe as cartels from South America seek to break into the European market.
 ?? Picture: Denis Minihane ?? Gavin and Luke Looney, Banduff, Cork, at the Lough, Cork.
Picture: Denis Minihane Gavin and Luke Looney, Banduff, Cork, at the Lough, Cork.
 ?? Picture: Denis Minihane ?? Thomas and Callum O’Flynn, Commons Road, Cork, and Cookie the dog, at the Lough, Cork.
Picture: Denis Minihane Thomas and Callum O’Flynn, Commons Road, Cork, and Cookie the dog, at the Lough, Cork.
 ?? Picture: Dan Linehan ?? Ballycotto­n lighthouse provides the backdrop for birthday girl Nera and Borja, from Cork City.
Picture: Dan Linehan Ballycotto­n lighthouse provides the backdrop for birthday girl Nera and Borja, from Cork City.

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