The global pandemic has caused a disruption in many industries, including the illegal drug trade. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has reported a significant increase in cocaine production and smuggling since the start of the pandemic. It is believed that the disruption of supply chains and weakened border controls have enabled criminals to take advantage of the situation.
In the last year, global cocaine production has increased by 10%, with Colombia, Peru and Bolivia being the main producers. The UNODC estimates that more than 1.3 million tons of cocaine were produced in 2020. This is the highest amount since UNODC began monitoring the production of cocaine in the early 2000s.
The UNODC also reported a significant increase in the smuggling of cocaine, with the number of shipments intercepted by law enforcement agencies increasing by 30% in 2020 compared to 2019. This is the highest number since 2007.
The increase in cocaine production and smuggling is of particular concern in Latin America and the Caribbean, where organized crime groups are taking advantage of the pandemic to increase their activities. These organized crime groups are using the increased demand for drugs, as well as weakened border controls and supply chain disruptions, to their advantage.
The UNODC is calling for increased international cooperation to tackle the issue of cocaine production and smuggling. The agency is urging countries to invest in law enforcement efforts, strengthen border controls and increase efforts to disrupt organized crime networks.