Ivorian security forces seized a record amount of cocaine, just over a ton, in a night-time operation in a northern district of the commercial capital Abidjan, the West African national gendarmerie said Thursday.
Record seizure of cocaine from Paraguay
Major drug shipments to Côte d’Ivoire are rare, and the latest discovery is more than double the previous record seizure, when 411 kilograms of cocaine were recovered from a boat in Ivorian waters last year.
The gendarmerie did not provide further details on Wednesday’s seizure, but a police source said the cocaine originated in Paraguay and was worth 25 billion CFA francs.
The coronavirus pandemic disrupted the illegal drug trade, but drug lords responded by loading larger quantities of cocaine onto the few container ships and commercial airplanes in circulation, according to officials.
Record Cocaine Seizures Across West Africa
In recent years, several large cocaine seizures have been made along the Atlantic coast of West Africa, a frequent staging point for South American cocaine bound for Europe. Approximately 40 tons pass through the region each year, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
In January, Gambian authorities seized nearly three tons of cocaine from a shipment of industrial salt from Ecuador. Approximately 9.5 tons were seized in the Cape Verde archipelago in 2019, one of the largest shipments ever made.