Boko Haram and other terrorism cells operating in Africa are tapping funds from a €30bn drug market in the European Union.
Sighting the annual report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Reuters observed that proceeds from the narcotics industry in the EU, which generated €11.6bn in 2017, are likely sources of revenue for extremists such as Islamic State and al-Shabaab.
Besides militant organisations, organised crime gangs are also making it big from the industry.
In South and Central America as well as Afghanistan, cocaine and heroin are growing at historic levels, the publication observed.
According to the report, the preferred hard drug in the year under review was Marijuana.
Cannabis and its resin constituted 39 per cent of total consumption for the year.
The proceeds earned in legal markets like California – $2.5bn was a mere fraction of what was earned in illegal EU markets.
Marijuana shops in the US West Coast provides most of what is consumed in the EU, while resin is imported from Morocco.
The centre added that prices and potency were on the high.
“The European drug market is increasingly characterised by consumers having access to a wide variety of high-purity and high-potency products,” an excerpt from the publication said.
Cocaine comes second, bringing in €9bn into the market, with heroin – sourced from Taliban dominated Afghanistan, €2bn behind.
Virtual currencies and high denominations like 200 and 500 euros are used to move funds for these groups.
The entire narcotic industry is valued at between €426 and 652bn, the drug centre noted.
The insecure Sahara Desert remains a trade route for illicit movement of humans, cash and drugs but African countries and Western states affected by the trade have refused to take action.