Portugal a key cocaine entry point for Europe

by Portugal News Online

Portugal is a key point of entry for all three major cocaine routes headed to European markets, according to the latest report by the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)

The body’s 2010 annual report released last week says Europol identified Portugal as one of four key entry points, along with Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The report noted that together the four countries represented 70% of the cocaine seized by authorities in 2008, though less than one quarter of the drugs were consumed by these nations.

INCB described three major cocaine routes from South America, all of which, in part, use Portugal to channel the drug into Europe.

The “northern route” moves cocaine through the Caribbean to the Portuguese Azores Islands and on to Iberia, while the “central route” heads through Cape Verde and the Portuguese and Spanish archipelagos of Madeira and the Canaries, the report said.

The “African route” channels cocaine to Europe via the West African countries of Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese territory, and Guinea-Conakry, the UN agency said.