Washington (AP) The White House drug czar says he believes South American cocaine traffickers are steering shipments away from the U.S. to Europe.
John Walters thinks the shift results from stricter control by Colombia and Mexico over routes to the United States. U.S. and European officials are seeing larger amounts of cocaine being routed through Venezuela to West Africa and on to Europe.
U.S. government figures show most cocaine seized in the western hemisphere on its way to Europe and Africa last year came from Venezuela. In 2000, most seizures came from Colombia.
Walters says the U.S. has evidence that Venezuela has become a haven for traffickers.
Another factor could be the strength of the Euro against the dollar, making the European market more profitable for traffickers.