EU agency: Cocaine dealers’ technology use complicates busts

December 13, 2018 GMT

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — The European Union agency that monitors drug abuse says cocaine dealers are increasingly using social media and encrypted communications to do business, making it harder for authorities to crack down on the trade.

The European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction agency said in a report Thursday that “large quantities of cocaine appear to be entering Europe at a regular pace, and law enforcement and customs agents are facing challenges in containing the flow.”

The Lisbon, Portugal-based agency says Europe is the world’s second-largest market for cocaine after North America, with estimated annual sales of at least 5.7 billion euros ($6.5 billion.)

The EU agency says drug smugglers are now using ports and airports in Belgium, France and Germany, as well as traditional trafficking hubs in Spain, the Netherlands and Italy.