Europol warned in a report released on Monday that the coronavirus pandemic may benefit organized crime in Europe for many years, and because cocaine smuggling is unprecedented, this crime has reached a tipping point.
In its report prepared every four years, the European Police Agency concluded that criminal networks are likely to infiltrate from the economic crisis triggered by covid-19 into legal companies that have become more vulnerable.
In order to profit from efforts to overcome the global health crisis, these organized groups also provide fake covid-19 vaccines or fake self-check kits.
Catherine Debor, director of Europol, told AFP: “We have reached a breakthrough point.”
She said: “The impact on citizens’ lives, the economy, and the rule of law is too important. Well, it comes from this report.”
The document said: “The long-term influenza pandemic will put tremendous pressure on the European and world economies.”
The European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said in a report in Lisbon: “Criminals can easily adapt to this epidemic because Portugal is the President of the European Council.
Europol is also concerned about the increase in drug-related corruption, as “unprecedented amounts of cocaine” are being smuggled from Latin America to the European Union, bringing billions of euros in revenue to criminal networks in these two regions.
In addition, the purity of cocaine is “higher than before in the European Union.”
Europol revealed that the smuggling of cocaine “supports criminal organizations that use its vast resources to infiltrate and disrupt the EU economy, public institutions and society.”
In important European ports, such as Antwerp, Hamburg and Rotterdam, smugglers were seized and record-breaking drugs were seized. For example, 23 tons of cocaine were seized in late February. The drugs were confiscated by the German and Dutch authorities.
The head of Europol said that drug smuggling is also the source of increased violence, and criminals “no longer fear the use of guns, grenades and torture.”
The health crisis that lasted for more than a year will have an important impact on the way organized gangs operate. In the eyes of those who wish to use it for illegal activities (such as money laundering), businesses weakened by the pandemic may become easy prey.
The coronavirus epidemic has opened up new possibilities for exploiting human fears. De Bolle said: “In the beginning, we noticed an increase in the number of fake masks and hydroalcoholic gels. Now, the transaction volume of fake vaccines and fake self-tests has increased.”
She warned: “These fake vaccines are harmful to health. You should not buy them.”