Colombian Cocaine production up 31% in 2017
Cocaine production in Colombia, the world’s top producer, soared in 2017 by an estimated 31%. Production is pegged at 1,379 tonnes (1,520 tons). About 423,000 acres in Colombia were planted with coca last year, a 17% increase. Coca output now surpasses the previous record in 2000. The U.S. has given Colombia more than $10 billion in aid since 2000.
$50 million of missing cocaine floating in South Pacific
Last May a shark fisherman saw a rope from the water that was buried under a patch of sand on an island in the Solomon Sea. He found $50m worth of cocaine stuffed inside 11 duffel bags and brought them to a village near Budi Budi Island, about 700km east of Papua New Guinea's capital, Port Moresby. Later, a gang of tattooed Asian men arrived by boat and seized the drugs.
PNG police later intercepted the modified trawler with the help of Australian aerial surveillance and arrested seven men. The cocaine was not with them and only a small amount was found. Their boat could not be inspected because it was booby-trapped. It was also too heavy to be towed. Police abandoned it somewhere off the Siassi islands. The seven men were escorted to Alatou, the capital of the Milne Bay province. They pleaded guilty for immigration offences. The cocaine has not been found.
Narcos throw half a tonne of cocaine overboard, escape
Army and navy personnel retrieved over half a tonne of cocaine off the coast of Chiapas yesterday after narcos threw it overboard to make a fast getaway. Police seized 17 packages containing 520 kg of cocaine. More than 14 tonnes of cocaine have been seized off the Mexican Pacific coast so far this year.
Eight people aboard the boat were arrested — four Mexicans, three Colombians and a Canadian.Last week a bust off the coast of Oaxaca led to the seizure of more than two tonnes of cocaine. An armed forces aircraft detected the boat 278km southwest of the tourist destination of Puerto Escondido.

Using another aircraft, a helicopter and four vessels, the boat was intercepted and its cargo seized.
'Corrupt dockers' arrested at Spanish port of Algeciras
The Spanish Civil Guard has arrested 21, including 10 dock workers employed at the port of Algeciras (Cádiz), for participating in a massive drug-trafficking scheme. Huge amounts of cocaine and other drugs were smuggled via shipping containers, then delivered to traffickers across Europe. 20 kilometers from Gibraltar, Algeciras has become one of the main entry points for drugs into the rest of Europe.

Among the five million containers that arrive every year at the port, thousands of kilos of cocaine, mostly from Colombia, are camouflaged between bananas, frozen fish, or simply stuffed into backpacks.
The arrested ring members charged about $1500 for every kilo that is 'rescued' and normally collected between 100 and 300 kilos. Its services included taking the drugs out of the port facilities and depositing them in a safe place, either in Algeciras or in a different city. There are more than 1,800 dock workers with long-term contracts and 483 temporary ones working at the port.
Spanish police have seized a record 8.7 tonnes of cocaine at Algeciras, reflecting a massive increase of supply. A veteran drug trafficker from the northwestern region of Galicia says there’s more cocaine than needed. He complains that the skyrocketing supply is hurting prices. “Prices have hit rock bottom. A kilogram has always gone for €32,000 to €35,000, but now it is being sold for €27,000 and €28,000.”
See ----->Spain detains 10 after seizing 900 kilos of cocaine
See ----->Six tonnes of cocaine seized in Spain
See ----->Cadiz - Spain’s ‘narco town’
150 kilos of cocaine found on ship in Halifax
Three men have been charged with conspiracy to import cocaine after a drug seizure in the Port of Halifax. Divers inspected a ship docked at the Halterm Container Terminal on June 9 and found 150 kilograms of cocaine hidden on the bottom of the vessel. The 3 had diving equipment with them when they were arrested near the container terminal.
Matthew Ryan Lambert, 34, of Richmond, Dangis Seinauskas, 46, of Ajax, and Darcy Peter Bailey, 46, of Fort St. John have been charged.

The cocaine was discovered on the Arica, a Liberian-registered container ship that docked in Montreal before stopping in Halifax. The drugs were wrapped in plastic and concealed in the ship’s sea chest, a recess on the bottom of the vessel through which ocean water is drawn in for cooling
Colombia seizes mega Cocaine processing lab
Colombian authorities dismantled a cocaine lab of the National Liberation Army (ELN, in Spanish), in Tibú, department of Norte de Santander. The lab could produce 8 tons of cocaine hydrochloride a month. Eight structures, organized in warehouses and areas for the production and drying of alkaloids, sat on a 200-square-meter area. Authorities found 8,000 gallons of liquid supplies and cocaine base paste, equivalent to 4.3 tons of cocaine hydrochloride. They also uncovered 80 kilograms of cocaine base paste ready to be sold.

The lab reveals recent changes in the narcotrafficking industry.
In the past, drug traffickers planted large fields and harvested coca leaves three times a year. Now, with land fragmentation and biological manipulation, they get up to five harvests with higher hydrochloride concentrations.
It took four months of intelligence work, where authorities devised an operation with the support of aircraft images including infrared images and daytime photos.
US Coast Guard lands 7,800 kg of Cocaine
The Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast offloaded approximately 7,800 kilograms (Over 8.5 tons, 17,000 pounds) of cocaine, worth nearly $260-million wholesale.
More than 5,000 kilograms seized by Steadfast’s crew was recovered from one panga-type fishing boat.

The smugglers dumped their cocaine load and evaded capture following a high-speed chase but their trail of cocaine bales is one of the largest loads to be intercepted from a single small vessel in years.
Cocaine and heroin seizures have hit record highs reflecting increases in supply, according to the 2018 World Drug report.
In March the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf offloaded more than 36,000 pounds of cocaine.
823 kg of Neymar branded Cocaine landed by Guatemala
Guatemala seized a semi submersible with 823 kg of cocaine. The drugs were transported in packages depicting Brazilian football star Neymar.
3 Colombians who were on board were detained.
On May 7, 2018, the Guatemalan Ministry of National Defense, in a combined operation with the U.S. Coast Guard, intercepted a merchant vessel 300 nautical miles off the Pacific coast of Puerto Quetzal in international waters. Authorities seized 3 tons of cocaine, the largest ever cocaine seizure in Guatemala.
Guatemala seized 13.7 tons of cocaine in 2017, a record for the country. In the first six months of 2018, the Guatemalan Army has already seized that amount.
Mexican Navy seizes 250 kilos of cocaine off coast of Guerrero
Mexican Naval officials have seized a cargo shipment containing 250 kilos of cocaine along the coast of Acapulco, in the southern state of Guerrero. Officials intercepted the go fast boat after a naval aircraft spotted it in waters 200 nautical miles south of Acapulco.

On board the boat, officials found 250 kilos of cocaine bundled in packages that were hidden inside 10 drums along with 3,000 liters of gas. 3 fuel depots in three states were found and destroyed.
There are signs of change in Britain's cocaine market. Though overall use has not increased, supply has soared and dealers are offering a purer product. Data on small-scale drug busts show that cocaine purity rose steadily from 26% in 2011 to 44% in 2015.
It was reported in July that a European branch of Mexico's Sinaloa cartel had formed an alliance with a Romanian criminal group in order to smuggle narcotics into the UK. The Netherlands and Spain are the principal transit hubs for cocaine moving to the UK. Upwards of 100 metric tons of cocaine is shipped to the UK each year.

Surprisingly, street prices have not budged, even as wholesale prices fall. That is partly because cocaine has a known street price of £40 ($53) per gram. Raise it, and users go elsewhere; lower it and they suspect an inferior product.
Britain’s import boom has been fuelled by Colombia's increased production of coca, from 49,000 hectares in 2012 to 146,000 in 2016. The collapse in 2014-15 of the Colombian peso against the dollar made exporting that much more profitable. More and better cocaine will only lead to more people getting hooked faster say experts.
Narco sub with 3,800 pounds of cocaine intercepted near Texas
A vessel carrying 3,800 pounds of cocaine was recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard near Texas on Nov. 13. The drugs were found in a self-propelled, semi-submersible narco sub, each of which can cost $750,000.
Six tonnes of cocaine seized in Spain
Almost six tonnes of cocaine have been found hidden among bananas on board a ship in the port of Algeciras, in southern Spain.

The seizure by police and customs officers is one of the largest of the drug to be made in Europe in the last two decades. The stash is estimated to be worth at least $249m.

In 2016, 171kg of cocaine were found inside fake bananas in the same port but this time the cocaine was hidden among real bananas.
The find is the second largest cocaine seizure to be made in Spain. In 1999, 7.6 tonnes were found aboard a trawler.
Cocaine - How its Made

Lumps of solidifying coca paste
In late 2016, Colombia sealed a peace deal with FARC, a left-wing rebel group. While authorities struggle to implement the deal, coca production has exploded. Colombia produces about 90% of the world's cocaine.
Coca plants grow just two months a year.

Coca leaves are mulched with a weed eater
The production process is simple and crude. Farmers pick leaves by hand and put them through a noxious process to eventually turn the leaves into paste, which is then sold to traffickers for refining.
Cement is sprinkled over mulched coca leaves

Ammonia, sulfuric acid, sodium permanganate, and caustic soda are used.

The resulting mixture is put into a press and the basic liquid extract of coca paste is squeezed out.
Noxious fumes emanate from marinating leaves, making breathing difficult. Coca extract is mixed with gasoline to extract alkaloid from the liquid mix.

It takes about a ton of coca leaves to make a kilo of the paste. Farmers can sell a kilo of paste for about $900.
The mixture of coca-leaf juice, gasoline, ether, and other chemicals will eventually be converted into coca paste. The paste is extracted after adding a strong acid into the mix that will further precipitate the alkaloid. The liquid coca paste is cooked to remove the water content.

The last step is called "fritada," or "fry-up." The coca paste residue is placed in water and heated until most of the water content is evaporated.
The liquid coca-paste residue is then crushed to be packed and sold. It is 40% to 91% cocaine sulfate. Later, the paste is made into cocaine that is eventually sold on the street.

Cocaine in its purest form is a white, pearly product. Cocaine appearing in powder form is a salt, typically cocaine hydrochloride. Most street cocaine is about 30% pure, the balance being cutting agents.

Coca paste ready for sale
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US officials raise alarm over Colombia's cocaine boom
Colombia's pursuit of peace with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has had a "staggering" impact on the country's cocaine trade. Many echoed the idea that the Colombian government had dropped the ball on counternarcotics efforts for the sake of peace negotiations. FARC rebels do appear to be asserting themselves in Colombia's criminal underworld and the new cocaine boom — production rose 134% between 2013 and 2016.

The amount of export-quality cocaine produced in Colombia increased from 270 metric tons in 2013 to 910 metric tons in 2016. This is more than 85% of world supply.
US Coast Guard officials have warned several times that their units are unable to keep up with the flows of illegal narcotics coming to the US from South and Central America.

In 2016, the Coast Guard intercepted nearly 450,000 pounds of cocaine with an estimated value of $6 billion. In March, a Coast Guard cutter unloaded 16 tons of cocaine seized by US and Canadian ships over a month period in the eastern Pacific. In May, a cutter unloaded 18.5 tons of the drug seized by six ships off the coasts of Central and South America. In June another cutter unloaded 18 tons.

Colombian security forces captured 28 members of the Gulf Clan. The country's most-feared drug gang, the operation targeted the Gulf Clan in the northwestern region of Antioquia. Columbia had previously announced that security forces had killed the Gulf Clan's second-in-command Roberto Vargas Gutierrez, alias "Galivan."
The Gulf Clan accounts for some 70 percent of Colombia's cocaine production.
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Sylvain Desjardins, David Ayotte
David Ayotte, 46, was sentenced to a prison term of 63 months in a U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ohio. Ayotte and Sylvain Desjardins, 48, were flying in a twin-engine plane when it developed engine trouble. Authorities later determined that the 132 bundles of cocaine that had been stored on one side the Piper Navajo caused one of its engines to overheat. The plane had left the Bahamas and was destined for Ontario. Desjardins, the pilot of the forfeited plane, is scheduled to be sentenced later this month. Prosecutors have requested he be sentenced to a 96-month prison term.

One week after Desjardins and Ayotte were arrested in Ohio, Montreal police arrested 11 people and carried out 21 search warrants in Montreal, Laval, Lachute and Ste-Agathe-des-Monts as part of Project Affliction, an investigation into a drug trafficking network that supplied cocaine to the Montreal Mafia and the Hells Angels.
300 Pounds of Cocaine Seized from Canada-Bound Aircraft in Ohio - Guilty
Traffickers linked to the Lebanese underworld and the Hells Angels have just been cut off after losing a cargo of 132 kg of cocaine in the United States, where one of their pilots made an emergency landing. Police of the anti-gang section of the SPVM dismantled the criminal organization based in Montreal and Laval, making 11 arrests under project 'Affliction'.

This group supplied part of the cocaine sold by the Hells Angels and the Italian mafia in the Greater Montreal area, and assumed the risk of transporting drugs into Quebec through the air. Police believe the organization used private aircraft and pilots from the Dominican Republic. They were selling an average of two kilograms of cocaine a day and collecting $ 3 million in monthly revenue.
Two Quebec residents are in custody facing federal drug charges after the pair attempted to transport nearly 300 pounds of cocaine in a Canada-bound Piper Navajo.
David Ayotte (left) & Sylvain Desjardins
The probe was launched after U.S. Customs and Border Protection assisted with an aircraft about to land illegally in the United States. While in flight, the Canada-bound aircraft diverted its flight path and landed unauthorized at KUNI Ohio University Airport due to 'mechanical problems'.

Investigators found 132 bundles, each weighing about 1 kilogram.

Daniel Poulin, Jean Saoumaa, Jihad Saoumaa, Tony George Saoumaa, Michel Jacques and Martin Lauzon.
An operation carried out produced the arrests of 11 people and the seizure of 42 firearms and four crossbows. 35 kilograms of cocaine were also seized. Accounting records indicted the network was able to move 180 kilograms over the course of 90 days.

Six of the 11 arrested appeared before a judge at the Montreal courthouse. That includes Jean Saoumaa, a 57-year-old Laval owner of a clothing company who was fined more than $800,000 in 2009 after he pleaded guilty to tax fraud by using fake receipts to reduce the tax burden of companies he owned. Jean and Jihad Saoumaa, 25, also of Laval, are charged with possession of a drug with the intent to traffic.
Huge cocaine haul seized in tugboat in Atlantic
Nearly four tonnes of cocaine worth an estimated $280m (£220m) have been seized in the Atlantic. The drugs were found on a boat between Portugal's Madeira and Azores islands. Officials found 165 individual packages of cocaine weighing 23kg - a total of 3.7 tonnes - concealed on the vessel.
The Comoros-flagged vessel was towed into the Spanish port of Cádiz on Friday after Spanish officials received intelligence from the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA).
This latest bust followed another major bust last week of 2.5 tonnes. The amount of cocaine produced in Colombia increased from 270 tonnes in 2013 to 910 tonnes in 2016. This is about 90% of world supply.
A yacht carrying 122 kilos of cocaine was recently apprehended in Madeira
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13 Spanish citizens arrested in Morocco over record cocaine haul
Thirteen Spanish citizens of Moroccan origin have been arrested over a record seizure of cocaine in the North African country. Over 2.5 tonnes of the drug landed by boat in the far south of the country from Venezuela and was likely destined for distribution in Europe. The networks of the South American drug cartels are currently trying to make use of the African route, via countries where there is little authority.

Over the past decade South American cartels have expanded their network of smuggling routes to the lucrative markets in Europe, landing some shipments in West Africa and moving them by land northwards. Along with the cocaine the authorities also seized some 100 kilos of hashish and ecstasy tablets, cash, weapons and mobile phones.
The suspected masterminds of the operation are two Dutch citizens of Moroccan origin who are currently serving jail sentences over a 2014 drug haul in Marrakesh.

2 tonnes at the Cave of Hercules
McDonald's Sold Burgers, Fries, with a side of Cocaine
An undercover sting the NYPD dubbed "Operation Off the Menu" busted a McDonald's manager they say sold massive amounts of coke from behind the fast-food counter.

Frank Guerrero, 26, had a slick system for hooking up his clientele at the McDonald's in the Bronx. Prosecutors say he kept his drugs hidden in the restaurant's soap dispenser. From there he'd stuff the drugs into a cookie bag and throw the dessert in with an order of burgers and fries.
Night manager Guerrero, who worked at the Mickey D's for eight years, was busted after he sold an undercover cop $10,900 worth of cocaine over the course of eight deals. During one late-night drug deal, Guerrero sold 100 grams of coke to the cop for $6,250. Once the cash had changed hands, the cop took a seat with Guerrero serving up the drugs in a takeout bag.

"Guerrero's conduct was so blatant, it would be comical if he weren't committing a serious narcotics crime," prosecutors said. "Ordering coke took on an entirely different meaning on the night shift at this McDonald's."

Mr. Guerrero brings new meaning to the 'happy meal'