Saturday, June 27, 2009

Classic Structure of Nigerian Drug Trade

Nigerian drug smugglers differ from what we see in The Godfather or the Sopranos, according to Stephen Ellis inWest Africa's International Drug Trade.

Ellis states the Nigerian structure is as follows:

  1. Drug Baron. Needs three assets

    • Ability to buy drugs cheaply at the source.
    • Good contact in the receiving country.
    • Substantial supply of capital in receiving country

  2. Striker, someone who can strike deals.
    • Typically works for several barons but is essentially self employed.
    • Has a high degree of logistical expertise.
    • Hires couriers.

  3. Couriers or mules.
    • Mostly people in desperate need of money.
    • Do not know who drug baron they are actually working for is.

Ellis' article, in its main thrust, provides an historical background for West Africa's role in the drug trade. He emphasizes Nigeria's role although he also discusses West Africa's recent role as a transit point for bulk cocaine shipments to Europe.

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