The European branch of the infamous drug kingpin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s cartel is now collaborating with Romanian gangsters to smuggle cocaine into the UK, the International Business Times reported on Monday.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) did not name the Romanian gang but according to media, it said in a statement that the gang has “the capability to import large amounts of cocaine into the UK on a weekly basis."
"Intelligence indicates that the Romanian OCG [organised crime group] are still being supplied by a Mexican OCG linked to the Sinaloa Cartel."
Considered one of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in the world, the Sinaloa Cartel is believed to seek greater profits by gaining a foothold in UK’s lucrative cocaine market, according to the agency.
"It is assessed that this network of OCGs will continue to supply large volumes of class A drugs into the UK,” the NCA said.
“Previous significant interdictions of their supply has not deterred the group from continuing their criminal activity aimed at the UK market."
The Sinaloa Cartel is headed by drug lord Joaquin Guzman, known as ‘El Chapo’ who escaped from maximum security prison twice. He was extradited to the US in January and currently lives in solitary confinement as he awaits trial.
Sinaloa’s new alliance raises security concerns at entry points for UK-bound lorries and ferries.
In previous investigations, the NCA tracked UK-based criminals who had traveled to or established themselves in Mexico to facilitate the supply and transportation of drugs.
"These drugs were transported via courier to varying European airports such as Frankfurt and Brussels before transiting on to the UK," the NCA said in its statement.
In 2016, a Romanian coach driver was arrested and sentenced to 17 years after he was caught trying to smuggle £18m (US$23 million) worth of cocaine into the UK on a coach full of schoolchildren.