How Illegal Drugs Sustain Organised Crime in the EU

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Drug markets remain the largest criminal markets in the EU. More than one third of the criminal groups active in the EU are involved in the production, trafficking or distribution of various types of drugs.The trade in illicit drugs generates multi-billion euro profits for the groups involved in this criminal activity. The EU retail drug market is estimated to be worth at least EUR 24 billion a year.3 The immense profits generated from the trade in drugs fund various other criminal activities allowing OCGs to thrive and develop their criminal enterprises at the expense of the health, prosperity and security of EU citizens.

OCGs involved in drug trafficking rely heavily on corruption to facilitate their trafficking activities. They also make use of fraudulent documents such as fake import or company registration certificates to import illicit drugs among legal goods, to procure (pre-)precursors and purchase equipment used as part of production processes.