If you've read some of the recently published pieces on the black market industry and the war on drugs, you probably have a good idea of just how big the money in drug trafficking is. Because of the illicit nature of selling drugs, accurate statistics on their exact values are hard to come by but even by conservative estimates, the global illegal drug industry has generated an estimated $321 billion dollars, and this figure is most likely growing every year.
Despite the criticisms that the war on drugs is failing to rid or even slow down the drug trade, law enforcement agencies around the world still do their part. Throughout the last 20 years they have investigated, tracked down, and seized often massive amounts of narcotics and cash that would have otherwise flooded the consumer market. This comprises everything from heroin, cannabis and cocaine to pill-making materials, opium and methamphetamine.
Some people may say money isn’t everything. But if you're a high-ranking drug lord, or even a small-time dealer, money is the driving force which persuades you to risk everything for the big payout. If caught, those in the drugs trade can lose millions — or even billions — at once. When we consider the figures and amounts on the following list, it’s hard to imagine that so much money can exist underground. But as these huge losses indicate, big money in the illegal drugs trade can disappear in the blink of an eye.
10 22.6 Million Amphetamine Pills - $267 Million
9 30 Tons of Hashish - $300 Million
8 13.8 Tons of Cocaine - $350 Million
7 33,450 Cocaine Blocks & $2.8 million Cash - $360 Million
6 42,000 Pounds of Cocaine - $600 Million
5 14 Tons of Cocaine - $1 Billion
4 5.7 Tons of Heroin / 11.3 Tons of Opium / 841 kg of Hashish - $1.1 Billion
3 30 Tons of Captagon Pill Material - $1.6 Billion
2 1080 Pounds of Heroin - $4 Billion
1 21.4 Tons of Cocaine - $6 Billion
Of the 10 largest seizures in history, cocaine makes the list once more at the very top of the most costly. However, this time, the drug was seized on American soil in Los Angeles, California, in 1989. The seizure was described as the second biggest in United States history. The cocaine was found hidden in concrete fence posts inside a secret warehouse. The posts were also inserted into metal tubes, and had about 6 kilograms of cocaine in kilo and half-kilo sized bricks. Five men were arrested in the bust worth billions.
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