Mexican drug cartels found ‘cooking’ meth in Europe
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.