Moroccan security services have seized 541 kilos of cocaine concealed in a container shipped from Latin America to Casablanca. Six people including a Brazilian national suspected of being the “mastermind of a criminal network” were arrested, said on Sunday Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ).
Five vehicles and “large sums of money” in Moroccan dirhams and other currencies were also confiscated in this major haul operation, said the BCIJ, Morocco’s FBI.
According to investigators, a “dangerous” criminal network linked to Latin American cartels is trying to use the strategic position of the North African Kingdom as a transit point to European market.
In recent years, the Moroccan authorities have reported increasing cocaine seizures, including a record 2.5 tons of cocaine with a street value of $2.7 billion.
This impressive drug seizure shows that the North African Kingdom, which has long been considered as a transit country for cocaine trafficked to Europe, is increasingly becoming a target too.
Over the past decade the flow of cocaine from South America to West Africa, and subsequently through North Africa to Europe and the Middle East, has expanded rapidly.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that between 20 and 40 MT of cocaine transits the region annually in route to Europe. Morocco works closely with the United States and European partners to combat drug trafficking.
The Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation was established in 2015 and is among the agencies with authority to conduct counternarcotics investigations.