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Article: Morocco’s Mocro Maffia threatens Europe and North Africa



Morocco, Belgium and the Netherlands have become pivotal in the growing Latin America-Europe cocaine chain. Says article…

Belgium and the Netherlands have overtaken Spain as Europe’s main entry points for cocaine coming from Latin America. The 65.6 tonnes of the drug intercepted at Antwerp port in 2020 nearly doubled in 2022. And Morocco is a crucial link in the chain.

When the Netherlands opened its cannabis market in the 1970s, Dutch and Belgian nationals of Moroccan descent drew on their family ties to cannabis growers in the northern mountains of Morocco’s Rif region. What started as hashish trafficking slowly extended to cocaine, a more lucrative drug. The powerful Mocro Maffia drug cartel emerged from this trade in the 1990s. Working mainly from Belgium and the Netherlands, it controls a third of Europe’s cocaine market.

Latin American drug traffickers have increasingly used Morocco and other Maghreb countries, and dealers with a foothold in Morocco and Europe, like the Mocro Maffia, for their transnational cocaine trade. Colombian and Mexican cartels used the group to facilitate the drug route into Europe via Spain’s southern city of Algeciras.

But since Spanish and Italian authorities tightened their border control and search operations, that route has become risky says criminologist and co-founder of Crim’HALT, Fabrice Rizzoli. Preferred entry points now are ports in Belgium and the Netherlands, where massive volumes of container traffic make it difficult for authorities to address the problem. In its 2021 report, Rotterdam’s port authority said it was ‘working with various agencies in the port to maintain security and combat drugs-related crime.’

Corruption is the key enabler of cocaine trafficking from Latin America to Rotterdam and Antwerp via Africa. For Latin American drug cartels, the Mocro Maffia’s ability to corrupt government officials makes it a strategic ally.

Audio exchanges intercepted through the Sky ECC app reveal how Mocro Maffia members boasted about bribing customs officers in the Port of Dakar, which is used as a transit point. Likewise, dockers in Antwerp and Rotterdam are paid up to €100 000 to relocate containers to avoid police and customs control.

Rizzoli says Belgium and the Netherlands are also both money laundering centres. Antwerp, the world diamond processing capital, is a destination for cleaning drug proceeds (sometimes paid in diamonds). Belgium’s real estate sector is a primary money laundering route.

The Netherlands is an ideal place for drug traffickers seeking to reinvest their money. A reported €16 billion is laundered annually due to the country’s large, internationally oriented highly digitised financial sector and open, trade-oriented economy. The creation of shell companies is a crucial conduit for money laundering in the Netherlands.

The Mocro Maffia uses violence to expand its reach into the cocaine market. In the past decade, over 100 people have died in violence between the Mocro Maffia and Belgian drug traffickers. The group is also suspected of involvement in the murder of a Moroccan judge’s son.

Derk Wiersum, an Amsterdam lawyer specialising in organised crime and drug trafficking networks, and Peter R de Vries, a journalist reporting on drug trafficking, were assassinated in 2019 and 2021, allegedly by the Mocro Maffia. And recently, a Belgian girl of Moroccan origin was killed when her parents’ home was shot at – allegedly by the group.

In September 2021, an alert was raised by Dutch security services, who believed that Prime Minister Mark Rutte was under threat from the Mocro Maffia. Likewise, Dutch Crown Princess Catharina-Amalia is protected by heavy security following kidnapping threats linked to the group. The Mocro Maffia thrives in the Netherlands partly because disorganised public authorities are faced with organised criminality, says Hans Werdmölder, author of Nederland Narcostaat.

The government and law enforcement must raise their game to counter the threat. Adequate modern surveillance equipment such as drones, mobile scanners and robots are lacking in the Netherlands, Belgium and Morocco (and North Africa). Installing or modernising such equipment – and training law enforcement to use it – could enable better detection at drug transit hubs in Morocco and the Rotterdam and Antwerp ports.

Graft must also be addressed. Rizzoli suggests a different approach, saying authorities should change their mindset about drugs. Rather than focusing on stopping the trade, he says, the associated violence must be curbed. In Italy for example, drastic legislation and judicial measures in the 1980s have ended almost all violence related to drug trafficking.

Italian authorities punish drug traffickers financially, targeting their assets. Rizzoli says around US$6 billion in assets are confiscated from drug traffickers yearly in Italy, of which 60% is eventually permanently seized. These resources are redistributed to non-governmental organisations, showing citizens the concrete results of government action against drug dealers and the mafia.

In a short time, the Mocro Maffia has become a major trafficking group in Europe. Its links with organised criminal groups in Morocco and Latin America make it a persistent and growing threat to Europe, North African states and their populations.

Operations such as that which led to the arrest of 49 members of organised crime groups in November 2022 and asset-linked approaches by the European Union and North African authorities must be stepped up. Without this, the Mocro Maffia will have an open road to increasing its trafficking web between the two continents.


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Why Cocaine Makes People Speak About Themselves




Have you ever found yourself stuck talking to a coke-fueled ego maniac at a party? Or, let’s be even more honest here, have you ever realized after a night out that you were in fact that same coke-fueled ego maniac? Well, regardless of whether it’s you or someone else, the truth is that cocaine – for all of its ‘helpful’ confidence boosting – can definitely make people speak a lot more about themselves.

Cocaine, a powerful stimulant derived from the coca plant, has long been associated with heightened self-confidence, euphoria, and talkativeness. For decades, it has been a party drug of choice, often noted for its ability to make users speak at length about themselves and their experiences. But why is this? We’re going to delve into this question, understanding where this ego boost comes from, and why no one seems to acknowledge that it’s happening to them. 

What is Cocaine? 

Before we talk about the egotistical tendencies that coke can cause, let’s have a quick reminder of what cocaine actually is. Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant drug that is derived from the leaves of the coca plant, which is native to South America. It is a highly addictive substance that has been used for centuries by indigenous peoples in the Andes for its stimulant effects.

When it was first discovered, the substance was seen as one sent from the gods due to its medical benefits and ability to reduce the feeling of hunger. Nowadays, cocaine is one of the most common party drugs used around the world. Coke is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States, and it typically comes in the form of a white powder and can be ingested in various ways, including snorting, injecting, or smoking. The effects of the substance include:

  • Euphoria: Cocaine use can induce intense feelings of pleasure and well-being.
  • Increased energy and alertness: Users often experience increased energy levels, heightened alertness, and a decreased need for sleep.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure: Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that can lead to elevated heart rate and blood pressure, which can be dangerous, especially for individuals with heart conditions.
  • Increased confidence and talkativeness: Users may feel more confident and talkative when under the influence of cocaine.

The last effect listed is what is significant for this article. The reason why cocaine does make people so confident and able to talk about themselves – with often very little filter – is sometimes mind boggling. In fact, a whole group of people being on the drug, can often make it impossible for you to be the only one not on it. Unless, of course, you want the most boring night of your life, with no one having any interest in what you’re up to or who you are. 

Cocaine Confidence – The Ego Boost

Before diving into the psychology behind cocaine-induced self-expression, it’s important to understand the drug’s effects. Cocaine primarily affects the central nervous system, leading to increased alertness, energy, and a sense of invincibility. Users often report feeling more self-assured and charismatic, which can lead to an overwhelming desire to share their thoughts and experiences with others. One of the most significant effects of cocaine is the surge in self-confidence.

If you’ve ever taken the substance, or have seen someone that has, you’ll notice this sudden belief that you can do anything, talk about anything, be anything. It’s like you’ve just been given a pep talk by the greatest life coach ever. You feel, in a lot of ways, invincible. Cocaine temporarily increases levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward.

This dopamine rush can lead users to feel more confident, outgoing, and self-assured than they do in their sober state. This newfound confidence can be a driving force behind the desire to talk about oneself. Imagine, you’re filling up with dopamine, feeling incredible, and the only way to release all of this new-found happiness is to let it out… perhaps verbally. Vice News writes:

“Of course, not everyone turns into a big sentient clenched jaw after half a gram—lots of us can do cocaine without becoming self-obsessed or arrogant or devoid of all self-awareness. But some of us can’t, which is where the “cocaine dickhead” archetype comes from: the girl who won’t stop banging on about her screenplay; the guy who wouldn’t be able to gauge the vibe of the room (extremely anti-him) if it was written out in spray paint on the wall.”

These archetypes, whilst comical, are unfortunately completely accurate. There seriously isn’t much worse than being stuck being talked at by someone who’s taken a copious amount of this specific substance. “Yeah I work in recruitment, mate. It’s alright but I’ve actually been thinking about doing something else. You know? Or maybe travelling. I feel like I need to see the world and get out of this suffocating suit. You know?” As Vice reports, not everyone turns into an egotist when consuming cocaine, but it certainly is not uncommon. 


So it seems the only question to really ask is: why? Why does cocaine cause people to feel like they need, without any censorship, to talk about themselves. In addition, why do they also not realise how much they’re doing it. Well, festival welfare worker Katy Mcleod (director of Chill Welfare), says in Vice:

“Cocaine tends to make people go into themselves, so they can either become introverted or be very sociable but a bit dominant or self-involved… One big issue with coke is how it makes you feel in yourself and how you come across to others when under the influence. The two don’t always match up. You might think you’re being really witty and outgoing, when other people just think you’re a twat.”

So, as you can see, there’s a dichotomy here. There’s how you feel about yourself, and there’s how the world perceives you. To be fair, this probably exists most of the time anyway but, when cocaine is consumed, the difference is a lot more extreme. This comes from the dopamine hit that coke gives. 

Euphoria and Ego Inflation

Cocaine’s primary mechanism of action involves blocking the reuptake of dopamine in the brain. This results in an accumulation of dopamine in the synapses, leading to intensified feelings of pleasure and reward. The increased dopamine levels reinforce behaviour associated with the drug’s effects, including self-expression. Cocaine also induces euphoria, a state of intense happiness and well-being. This elevated mood can lead users to believe they are more interesting, intelligent, and captivating than usual. As a result, they may feel compelled to share their thoughts, stories, and opinions, convinced that they are the centre of attention. Essentially, you not only feel great, but you also think you are great. Hired Power writes:

“It boost’s a user’s ego and self-confidence, making the user believe that he is the most powerful person in the room.”

Cocaine gives you license to have social confidence, as well as confidence in yourself, which can be quite extreme. This doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Well it wouldn’t if you didn’t then spend an entire evening thinking that your voice deserves to be heard by everyone all night. The danger in an ego boost is that it can make you blind. Make you believe that you are the boss. Again, there’s nothing wrong with self-belief, but too much can become arrogant and hugely irritating. 

Final Thoughts on Cocaine Ego Boosts

Scientifically the ego-boost phenomenon of cocaine makes sense. A boost of dopamine, energy and confidence, makes users believe that they are the bees knees and they want people to know it. For some, with social anxiety, this can be a great moment – finally able to speak to people like they want to. For others, this can be an enhancement in ego they simply do not need. These sorts of people are the ones you want to avoid at parties, unless of course you want to hear (for hours on end) about their very interesting ideas on modern politics.

It’s important to say, of course, that cocaine is a highly dangerous substance and is incredibly addictive. This ego-boosting effect of cocaine is perhaps one of the most addictive parts of it and, worst of all, it can make it very hard to have any self-confidence without the substance. The effects of cocaine may be harnessed for that initial boost of confidence before an event, but those effects can very easily create an ego-tistical monster if you’re not careful. 

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NSW – Australia: Four arrested following investigation into drug syndicate – Strike Force Winetr




Police have charged four people after an extensive investigation into an alleged drug-supply syndicate operating in the Fairfield area.

In April 2023, Wetherill Park Region Enforcement Squad (RES) established Strike Force Winetr to investigate the activities of a syndicate believed to be involved in ‘dial-a dealer’-style supply of cocaine.

Following extensive inquiries, strike force investigators executed search warrants at homes in Fairfield West, Smithfield and Bossley Park from 10.30am yesterday (Friday 25 August 2023).

They were assisted by officers attached to Bankstown Region Enforcement Squad, Southwest Metropolitan Operations Support Group and Raptor Squad.

During the searches, police seized a number of electronic devices, prohibited drugs, a knife, ammunition and over $70,000 cash. The items will undergo further examination.

Four men were arrested and taken to Fairfield Police Station where they were charged.

A 24-year-old Fairfield West man was charged with 17 offences; including two counts of supplying a commercial quantity of prohibited drugs; nine counts of supplying an indictable quantity of prohibited drugs, knowingly direct activities of criminal group, and deal with property proceeds of crime.

A 21-year-old Smithfield man was also charged with 17 offences; including supplying a commercial quantity of prohibited drugs, six counts of supplying an indictable quantity of prohibited drug, and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

A 25-year-old Bossley Park man was charged with five counts of supplying an indicatable quantity of prohibited drug; participate in criminal group, supplying prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis; and take part in the supplying of an indictable quantity of cannabis.

The three men were refused bail to appear before Parramatta Bail Court today (Saturday 26 August 2023).

A 17-year-old boy, also from Bossley Park, was charged supply prohibited drug and possess prohibited drug.

He was granted conditional bail to appear before a children’s court on Monday 18 September 2023.

Investigations under Strike Force Winetr continue.

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Northern Ireland: Larne: Lorry driver held over £1m suspected cocaine find




The BBC A lorry driver from England has appeared in court charged in connection with the seizure of about £1m of cocaine at Larne Port. Justin Walsh, 37, appeared before Ballymena Magistrates’ Court on Saturday charged with possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply. The seizure happened shortly before 06:00 BST on […]

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