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Cocaine Trafficking Through West Africa: The Hybridized Illicit Network as an Emerging Transnational Threat

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Traditionally, the primary cocaine trafficking routes from South America started at coca farms and laboratories in Colombia, traversed Mexico and the Caribbean, and ended with dealers and users in the US. In the last decade, a significant shift has occurred, with increasing amounts of cocaine travelling through West Africa to Europe. This shift developed in response to inc Traditionally, the primary cocaine trafficking routes from South America started at coca farms and laboratories in Colombia, traversed Mexico and the Caribbean, and ended with dealers and users in the US. In the last decade, a significant shift has occurred, with increasing amounts of cocaine travelling through West Africa to Europe. This shift developed in response to increased cocaine demand in Europe, successful interdiction of traditional trafficking routes in the Western Hemisphere, and weak governance in West Africa. However, the significance of this shift in narcotrafficking patterns goes far beyond opening a new front in the "War on Drugs." The hybridization of profit-motivated transnational organized criminal groups with ideologically-driven international terrorist networks threatens to accelerate the destabilization of the nations of West Africa while generating significant funding for terrorist groups.


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Traditionally, the primary cocaine trafficking routes from South America started at coca farms and laboratories in Colombia, traversed Mexico and the Caribbean, and ended with dealers and users in the US. In the last decade, a significant shift has occurred, with increasing amounts of cocaine travelling through West Africa to Europe. This shift developed in response to inc Traditionally, the primary cocaine trafficking routes from South America started at coca farms and laboratories in Colombia, traversed Mexico and the Caribbean, and ended with dealers and users in the US. In the last decade, a significant shift has occurred, with increasing amounts of cocaine travelling through West Africa to Europe. This shift developed in response to increased cocaine demand in Europe, successful interdiction of traditional trafficking routes in the Western Hemisphere, and weak governance in West Africa. However, the significance of this shift in narcotrafficking patterns goes far beyond opening a new front in the "War on Drugs." The hybridization of profit-motivated transnational organized criminal groups with ideologically-driven international terrorist networks threatens to accelerate the destabilization of the nations of West Africa while generating significant funding for terrorist groups.

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