Hell on the high seas: virus forces drug traffickers to get ...

World

Hell on the high seas: virus forces drug traffickers to get ship-shape

Lockdown has closed smuggling routes and disrupted harvesting, so cartels are turning to ocean routes

Patrick Sawer

The pandemic is having a dramatic impact on the global drugs trade, with closed borders making smuggling more difficult and pushing up the price of street narcotics.

A United Nations report has found that normal smuggling routes have been disrupted by nationwide lockdowns, forcing drug traffickers to switch to less reliable methods. Production on the ground has also been disrupted, with lockdowns robbing drug producers of labour to harvest and process crops and increasing competition between rival cartels.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report also warns that shortages could lead to the use of “harmful domestically produced substances” instead, especially among heroin addicts...

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