It is a cycle all too familiar to law enforcement, yet this time the money is buying arms for the global jihad and not the local gang members. The MSM has not reported on this...why? When you hear libertarians and leftists call for the legalization of ALL drugs and not just marijuana, remember this article and ask them why they would support Al-Qaeda by telling people it is OK to use cocaine.
From the Telegraph January 26 by Colin Freeman
Revealed: how Saharan caravans of cocaine help to fund al-Qaeda in terrorists' North African domain
Like everywhere else that has fallen under Islamist rule in northern Mali, the city of Gao on the edge of the Sahara is not a place where vice is tolerated. Drinking and dancing are banned, the city's two nightclubs have been burned down, and the only thing that passes for street entertainment is watching citizens being flogged in public for smoking.
Such all-encompassing piety, though, comes to a halt outside the high walls of the gaudy new villas on Gao's outskirts, which stand out amid the shanty towns overlooking the sand dunes.
Nicknamed "Cocainebougou" - which translates as "cocaine town" - the strip of mansions is home to the elite of the city's ancient smuggling community, which has trafficked goods across the Sahara since the 11 century, when Gao was better known than nearby Timbuktu.
Unlike their ancestors' cargoes of spices, salts and silks, the contraband that Gao's smugglers bring in today from Colombia is deemed strictly "haram", or forbidden, by Islam.
Yet the city's ever-zealous Islamist morality police have a good reason for turning a blind eye. For it is thanks to the trans-Saharan cocaine trade that Islamist groups like al-Qaeda have become a power in the region, building up formidable war chests to buy both arms and recruits.
"Cocainebougou is full of very rich traffickers, all with gleaming new SUVs," said one former resident of Gao, who asked not to be named. "But they and the Islamists have a very close relationship."
The cocaine trade first exploded in this region five years ago, as Latino cartels, faced with a saturated market in the US, sought new routes to get their product to Europe's borders. First the drug is shipped or flown across the Atlantic to lawless, corrupt coastal states like Guinea Bissau, then it is moved thousands of miles across the Sahara to Algeria, Morocco and Libya.
Already, the influx of drug cash into such a poor region has had a disastrously corrosive effect. In Guinea Bissau, for example, the cartels' limitless funds have bought up so many police, politicians and soldiers that it has been dubbed Africa's first "narco-state", with a military coup last April blamed on in-fighting over drug trade proceeds.
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