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Cross-border drug trafficking cases nearly doubled in four years…

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      <br>THE HAGUE, April 19 (Reuters) – The number of cross-border drug trafficking cases referred to the European agency for prosecutorial cooperation nearly doubled in four years to 562 in 2020, partly driven by a huge increase in the production of synthetic drugs, the agency said.<br> <br>In a report published on Monday Eurojust said drug trafficking in the European Union alone has an estimated value of 30 billion euros ($36 billion) annually.

      The rapid rise of production of synthetic drugs such as methamphetamines and darkmarket 2022 their sale via online darknet market places on the darknet market poses a big challenge to prosecutors across the European Union.<br> <br>”By rapidly changing the composition of chemicals used for these drugs … or creating new substances, producers try to exploit legal gaps and avoid prosecution,” Eurojust said in a statement.<br> <br>According to the report by the European prosecutor’s body, the total number of cases involving cross-border drug trafficking nearly doubled to 562 from 279 between 2016 and 2020.

      Synthetic and other new drugs made up almost one-third of them.<br> <br>The Eurojust report said producers of new psychoactive drugs often don’t work in old-fashion hierarchical drug trafficking networks and sale and dark market link distribution are done online.<br> <br>”This phenomenon has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with organised crime groups adapting quickly to an online environment, using secured communication channels, crypto-phones, cryptocurrencies and darknet markets,” Eurojust said.<br> <br>Likewise consumers of the drugs are also shifting to the darknet market, paying online and receiving the drugs in the mail, it added, making prosecution complicated.<br> <br>($1 = 0.8317 euros) (Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)<br>

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