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The 10th Parallel marine and aerial routes linking South America and West Africa harbor a long history of trade between the two continents. More recently, these routes have become one of the preferred routes used by Latin American traffickers for shipping multi-tons of cocaine destined for the growing European market. The Parallel’s growing importance in cocaine trafficking has made it known as cocaine “Highway 10” among law enforcement.

Latin American cocaine trafficking organizations, particularly the Colombian ones, have established stable bases in West Africa, controlling and developing the route. West African facilitators, Nigerians as well as an increasing number of nationals from all countries where shipments are stocked, have developed a stronger capacity for taking over more ambitious and lucrative role in the business as transporters, partners, and final buyers. In one case (Guinea), the West African partner had already started developing his own trafficking and manufacturing capacity, reproducing the patterns that made Colombia the business model of the drug industry. In this reshaped context, of particular concern is the role played by the Colombian FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) as provider of cocaine shipments to West African cocaine entrepreneurs, as well as the impact of drug trafficking money on the financing of terrorist and rebel groups operating in the Sahel-Saharan belt.


"The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this report (paper) are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy or decision unless so designated by the official documentation.

Funded by the National Defense Center for Energy and Environment (NDCEE), ID W91WAW-09-D-0022, delivery order number 0616."

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