Torrevieja has been mentioned in a United Nations (UN) report on drugs, namely cocaine trafficking, in which it warns of the increase in violence in Europe related to the illicit trade in this drug. The report highlights Torrevieja as an example of an area where public safety has deteriorated due to drug trafficking.
The Global Report on Cocaine 2023 published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) states that murders, kidnappings and shootings related to cocaine trafficking have increased in Europe, especially in the Netherlands and Belgium, although there are also problems in Spanish regions such as the Costa del Sol.
“In recent years, an increase in serious violent incidents related to organised crime, particularly in drug markets, has been observed in some countries of the European Union (EU) and neighbouring regions,” warns the Global Report on Cocaine 2023 published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The agency notes that the arrival of new criminal groups, attracted by the growing cocaine and cannabis markets, has fuelled violence, including shootings and attacks. According to UNODC, there are experts who believe that competition between gangs in the Balkans has manifested itself in murders in EU countries such as Austria, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and Spain.
The report indicates that in southern Spain they have also detected public security problems associated with drug trafficking.
“The Costa del Sol has long been a base for different types of high-level traffickers across Europe,” the report states, indicating that there may be more than a hundred groups in the area, resulting in stiff competition that sometimes it leads to targeted killings.
The UNODC refers to the fact that efforts to combat the growing violence in Algeciras, one of the largest cocaine trafficking centres in Spain, appear to have caused the routes to have shifted to the east of Gibraltar.
“In the eastern provinces of Spain, however, there have been signs of increased threats to public safety from cocaine and cannabis trafficking,” the report states.
The UNODC gives Torrevieja as an example where a deterioration in public security due to drug trafficking has been detected. The report indicates that the Government had to increase judicial and police resources due to the presence of criminal organizations, many of them from Eastern Europe.
“In the eastern provinces of Spain, in turn, there have been signs of an increase of threats to public security derived from cocaine and cannabis trafficking. A Spanish prosecutor interviewed in the context of this report mentioned as an example the municipality of Torrevieja (Alicante province), of just over 80,000 inhabitants, where there was no court in 2000. Fifteen years later, the Spanish government had to focus its public security resources on the municipality (with the establishment of trial courts and resource endowments for police units) in response to public safety concerns due to the presence of OCGs. Many of the OCGs involved in cannabis and cocaine trafficking in the eastern provinces of Spain are of Eastern European origin. According to media coverage, their growing presence has been accompanied by the seizures of rifles and machine guns”.
The UN indicates that the main entry points for cocaine in Spain are Galicia, Andalusia and Valencia, followed by the Canary Islands and Catalonia.
The Netherlands, one of the largest entry points for cocaine in Europe, has seen an increase in violence due to gang rivalry, with more murders between 2014 and 2020. In fact, the violence is beginning to target not only gang members, but also judges, prosecutors, witnesses and even journalists linked to drug trafficking trials.
If you would like to download the 184 page PDF, Global Report on Cocaine 2023, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in which Torrevieja is mentioned on page 91, click anywhere on this paragraph.