Greece: cocaine seized reaches maximum in 25 years

Cocaine seizures in Greece in 2020 hit a 25-year record, while home shipments rose sharply due to restrictions, according to the annual report of the coordinating body for the prosecution of drugs (SODN) released on Thursday.

The report says that 1.7 tons of cocaine were seized by all law enforcement agencies in the country last year, up 87% from 2019.

“This is the largest amount of cocaine seized annually in Greece in 25 years, and the second consecutive year that this amount has hovered at a particularly high level,” the SODN report says.

The bulk of the confiscated drugs came from Latin America (89%) and arrived in Greece mainly in containers with legal cargo, for example, with fresh fruit. Two such cases relate to the seizure of 34 and 100 kg of cocaine, respectively, in February and March, in a container of bananas from Ecuador at the port of Piraeus.

The report also indicates that Albanian-speaking criminal organizations are traffickers in cocaine and have direct links with partners in Latin America and the Caribbean. Their main methodology involves the creation of shell companies to facilitate the drug trade and legalize their proceeds. Moreover, it says that significant quantities were transported to and from Greece by trucks through the port of Patra, as well as through the international airport of Athens by drug lords.

The report says that the price of cocaine on the illegal Greek market increased in 2020, and the estimated retail value of the seized consignments exceeded 160 million euros.

Tellingly, the report also says that due to travel restrictions due to Covid in the spring of 2020, the availability of certain types of drugs has been disrupted. This led to shortages and higher prices, while dealers were also offering shoppers 24/7 home delivery.

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