Seizures

Seizures data indicate that cocaine is the third most trafficked drug in the world after herbal cannabis and cannabis resin. In terms of volume seized – 490.5 tonnes worldwide in 2003 – most trafficking in cocaine continued in 2003 to be in the Americas (82 %) and Europe. The latter accounted for 17 % of total cocaine quantities seized worldwide, an increase compared with the previous year (CND, 2005). Within Europe, most quantities of cocaine seized are recovered in the western states. In the last five years, Spain has consistently been the EU country with the highest level of cocaine seizures. In 2003, it accounted for more than half the EU total of both number of seizures and quantities seized (99).

Over the period 1998–2002, the number of cocaine seizures (100) increased in all countries except Germany and Portugal. Over the same period, quantities of cocaine seized in the EU (101) fluctuated, although the trend has been upward. However, based upon trends in countries from which data are available, numbers of cocaine seizures at the EU level seem to have decreased in 2003 (notably in Spain), whereas amounts of cocaine seized rose substantially (especially in Spain and the Netherlands). Seizures of particularly large amounts of cocaine appear to have been made in 2003 in the EU.

Although seizures of crack cocaine have been reported by some EU countries, they are sometimes not distinguishable from cocaine seizures. Thus, the trends in cocaine seizures reported above might include crack cocaine.


(99) This should be checked against missing 2003 data when available. Data on numbers of cocaine seizures in 2003 were not available for Italy, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Romania; data on both number of cocaine seizures and quantities of cocaine seized in 2003 were not available for Ireland and the United Kingdom.

(100) See Table SZR-5 (part i) in the 2005 statistical bulletin.

(101) See Table SZR-6 (part i) in the 2005 statistical bulletin.