Cocaine Trafficking: Dakar is “White” Queen of West Africa


As a strategic port, Dakar has become a true regional transport hub for the Senegalese economy. Drug dealers also want to use the port to export drugs to Europe, despite the risks involved.

From January to April 2020, the Senegalese Navy and customs reported the confiscation of 6 tonnes of hashish and 120 kilograms of cocaine during raids on the high seas as well as in the port of Dakar. Impressive raids were also carried out in 2019, when the number of potent drugs seizures sharply increased. As a result of six major operations, at least 2,079 kilograms of cocaine were confiscated. 

Mouhamadou Kane from the Enhancing Africa’s Response to Transnational Organized Crime (ENACT) programme, notes that “in the past few years, Dakar has been relatively aloof, but now criminal networks…have turned Dakar into a new subregional cocaine trafficking hub.”

Apart from its geostrategic location, Dakar has West Africa’s third largest port after Lagos and Abidjan. Sailing and container ships often stop there on their way to Europe and America.

Increased attacks on the port are perplexing, given that Senegalese customs services are quite effective in combating drug trafficking. However, according to Mouhamadou Kane, there is a logical explanation:

In the summer of 2019, Commissioner Cheikhna Keïta told the Senegalese news outlet Emedia about the strategy of the drug cartels. “Drug dealers are smart. They carry out several shipments at once….

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