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Given the COVID-19 pandemic, many trafficking routes have been closed to Moroccan drug traffickers. This has led them to find complex new routes to traffic cannabis to Europe.
With the usual routes to Europe closed by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Moroccan drug traffickers are inaugurating a new, longer and more dangerous route that involves food trucks and fishing boats to reach the coasts European countries, according to a UN report.
The measures implemented by governments to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have caused an interruption in air routes for drug trafficking, in addition to drastically reducing traffic on land routes and increasing mobility bans. Some drug supply chains have been disrupted, and traffickers are looking for alternative routes depending on the type of drugs being trafficked, such as sea lanes. These are some of the findings of the report on drug market trends during the pandemic that was presented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The drug was transported in vehicles to the loading point on the beach where the rubber would approach. After a long navigation, it reached the coasts of southern Spain.
Morocco has imposed a total lockdown since March that has blocked the movement of people between cities and closed its air and sea borders in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Previously, drug traffickers transported cannabis resin, grown in the north in the Rif Mountains, by truck to the Mediterranean coast and then carried it across the sea in speedboats or concealed it in daily commercial transport fleets.
But recent smuggling seizures show that they have been forced to adopt a longer and more dangerous alternative route involving amions of food allowed to move into Morocco during confinement and then fishing boats that sail from Atlantic ports.
Although only 14 km (9 miles) separate Tangier from Spain through the Strait of Gibraltar, the route along the Atlantic coast requires a long journey and the sale is made at sea with European drug traffickers, the sale is made in international waters.
It also involves transporting drugs for hours from the Rif to the remote beaches of Sidi Abed, 217 kilometers (135 miles) south of Rabat, using food trucks whose drivers have permits to travel during confinement. Moroccan police have seized 32.6 tons of cannabis resin, known as hashish, during lockdown and 62 tons since the beginning of the year, compared to 210 tons seized last year. Drug raids in North Africa and the Middle East show that targeted restrictions ordered by coronavirus have failed to halt drug trafficking as European users buy more drugs during the shutdown, the United Nations drug agency said in a report.
However, as cannabis trafficking continues, the lockdown and State of Alarm in several countries have completely halted cocaine shipments passing through Morocco, which is a hub for the shipment of cocaine from South America.