Mauritania makes biggest drugs haul

At least 830kg of cocaine discovered in West African state's largest ever find.

    West Africa is being used by Latin American drugs cartels trafficking to Europe
    The authorities found the drugs while investigating the smuggling of more than 600 kg of cocaine discovered in May.
     
    That was seized after a small plane made an emergency landing at the northern port of Nouadhibou, police said on Monday.
     
    Ely Ould Sneiba, director of the country's anti-drugs office, said: "During our investigations we noticed a parked minibus which looked different from other such vehicles even though it had registration plates from this country."
     
    Drugs route
     
    UN drugs officials estimated that cocaine was worth around $42,000 per kg on arrival in Europe during 2005, which would put the wholesale value of Monday's seizure at well over $30m.
     
    Law-enforcement officials say Guinea Bissau, which adjoins Mauritania's southern neighbour Senegal, is used as a hub by Latin American cartels to traffick drugs to Europe.
     
    A fortnight ago Senegal incinerated nearly 2.5 tonnes of cocaine seized in June after a deserted sailing yacht loaded with the drug drifted into a popular resort.
     
    Mauritania is sparsely populated, has a long Atlantic coastline and stretches deep into the Sahara, making it "a perfect backdrop" for trafficking, Kissy Agyeman, a London-based Africa analyst for risk consultancy Global Insight, says.
     
    "Security controls in Mauritania remain a problem for curbing the illicit entry of drugs, often bound for European destinations, because vast swathes of desert coastline are unmanned."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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