An Ethiopian narcotics smuggling ring was busted by the Guardia di Finanza (GDF – Financial Guard). It resulted in 16 arrests and the seizure of nearly 1.4 tons of drugs.
The gang made about 100 routes from Ethiopia, the main target being Rome. In the Italian capital, law enforcement authorities caught a man with 1,300 pounds (590 kilograms) of narcotics in an airport, which is considered as the second biggest raid on airports around the world. In Torino, the military had to carry out a controlled delivery on another suspect of the Ethiopian ring who had nine pounds (3 kgs) of drugs when arrested.
The GDF discovered several methods of how marijuana is being smuggled from Spain and Canada. Law enforcement authorities found out that many narcotics packages coming from these two countries are ordered through the dark web and the transactions are paid in BTC. Dark net orders also resulted in new types of synthetic drugs coming into Italy, some of them were seized for the first time in the country.
One case includes a 52-year-old school worker who was arrested with 1,620 kilograms of cocaine soaked inside the pages of a book when he tried to enter the country. In another failed smuggling case, a Papua New Guinean citizen was detained who wanted to hide a US-issued M16 assault rifle in stereo speakers.
German newspaper weld.de reported on a new smuggling phenomenon in Europe. The report revealed that organized criminals are getting fake pharmaceutical pills to Germany. The counterfeit pills are pressed in Asian countries, such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. When the Germans receive the narcotics, they sell it on the internet (and on the dark web) as genuine pharmaceutical products to customers.
Recently, a criminal gang was standing before Potsdam Court for smuggling counterfeit drugs to Germany. Court documents say they have earned about 21 million euros during a three-year period. The gang created fake companies and used trained smugglers worldwide. They set up around 1,000 internet shops where unsuspecting customers could purchase the counterfeit products.
Criminal law Professor Arndt Sinn, who is currently researching such cases at the University of Osnabrück, had reported on the counterfeit pill business.
“Why should I kill myself as a criminal with dangerous drug stores, if the profit margins for counterfeit drugs are much bigger?” he asks. “From one kilo of raw cocaine worth 1,000 euros you can make 45,000 euros, from one kilo of Viagra active ingredient Sildenafil, which is sold for 50 euros, you can easily earn 90,000 euros.”
“The biggest problem is the so-called lifestyle area, which includes anabolic steroids, hair growth means, potency or slimming products. This area accounts for 95 percent of our cases. ‘Beautiful, harder, slimmer’ is the motto “, says Christian Schüttenkopf, press officer of the General Directorate.
The biggest counterfeit pill producers in Asia is China, India, and Bangladesh. According to investigator Peter W., five of 10 parcels containing counterfeit drugs gets intercepted by German customs.