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Europe is set to be the next battleground in the cartel wars as international drugs gangs try to carve up the territory, a cartel expert has warned.
The vicious cartel rivalries that have led to virtual anarchy in Mexico are spreading, according to Luis Chaparro, as the war between the gangs becomes “more global”.
“In Europe it's going to be a huge war, not by the or two small cartels but … global cartels right like Albanians Italians and South Americans are going to try to step up again,” he said.
“Europe’s gonna be Mexico all over again.”
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In some places, it has already begun. Speaking to Johnny Mitchell on his podcast, Luis claimed: “If you go to different places in Spain, you hear about these wars going on.”
He added that “suspiciously enough” several former Mexican presidents, some of who are suspected to have had links to organised crime, “are now exiled in Spain”.
What’s more, he said “the top guys from the Sinaloa cartel, the real families, are living in Spain”.
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Luis said the Spanish police recently discovered a huge warehouse filled with Lamborghini, Rolls-Royces and other luxury cars which they traced back to five Sinaloa cartel members.
The group were also connected to the ownership of a number of luxury properties in the country.
The major players in the South American drug trade are leaving behind their regional associations and becoming truly international businesses, according to Luis.
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He continued: “They're moving towards becoming global criminal organisations and stop being a brand. Stop being Sinaloa cartel based in Sinaloa, stop being the Jalisco cartel based in Jalisco.
“They're going to become like global institutions – criminal institutions – because this is what they're doing.
“There's a lot of movement.
"At the same time the Albanians are moving into Ecuador and into Colombia. They’ve been there forever, but now they're trying to be the main guys in Europe.
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"The Europeans themselves; Spaniards… Italians they're trying to set up business right there you know, like synthesise different drugs; meth and cocaine within Europe.
“Then the Mexicans are trying to earn the business as they earn in Mexico or Latin America but also global.
“The ones who earn the exclusive contacts in China also want to get their hands on the Euro business.
"And they're also trying to move out of of Colombia and move into Ecuador, in Costa Rica but at the same time Sinaloa is moving its fentanyl kitchens to Colombia.”
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The cocaine business in Europe has never been bigger.
EU figures show that Ireland is the cocaine capital of Europe, with just under 5% of people aged between 15 and 34 admitting to have taken the drug in the past year. Since Brexit, the UK is no longer included in EU statistics.
EU member states seized a record 303 tonnes of cocaine in 2021, the most recent period for which figures are available.
The report added that large volumes of cocaine were being moved through Europe’s major seaports, leading to unprecedentedly high availability of this drug in Europe today.
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