7.4 Drug trafficking

Drug trafficking cases in 2020In 2020, national judicial and law enforcement authorities tackled EUR 3 billion worth of illicit drugs trade in operations coordinated through Eurojust. In 2020, nearly 1 200 cases and 50 Joint Investigation Teams supported by Eurojust concerned drug trafficking, leading to the organisation of close to 90 coordination meetings and 4 joint action days, so-called coordination centres.

Key operational results included:

Dismantling a drug trafficking network that exploited vulnerable people as street dealers in Ireland (click on image or link to expand)

Operation Los Blancos, successfully targeting one of Europe’s most active Albanian cocaine trafficking networks (click on image or link to expand)

Operation Wave, which led to more than 200 arrests in a coordinated action against a Nigerian drug trafficking network.

#JusticeDone in the context of Operation Pollino: in November 2020, the first 42 suspects that had been arrested in the context of this major crackdown on the on ‘Ndrangheta mafia in Europe in late 2018, were sentenced to a total of over 389 years imprisonment in special trial in Reggio Calabria (click on image or link to expand)

‘The first preliminary judgment issued by the competent national Court in the Pollino Case constitutes the highest recognition of the top-quality level of our work, ensuring the full effectiveness of our action in a very complex procedure, with respect for human rights and the rule of law.’

Filippo Spiezia, National Member for Italy at Eurojust and Chair of the College Trafficking Team


National authorities face a number of obstacles in judicial cooperation in drug trafficking cases. Differences in substantive and procedural law can cause delays or even refusals to execute mutual legal assistance (MLA) requests, for example when the quantity of drugs involved is not considered significant by a Member State or when the substance in question is not illegal in a Member State. The same differences can also present obstacles to effective cooperation in the area of controlled deliveries – when consignments are allowed to cross State borders so authorities can identify those involved in the entire chain of the drug trafficking.

Drug trafficking cases 2016-2020
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