In addition, the Colombians have forged links with organized crime in Nigeria and Sicily. The Colombian drug cartels trade cocaine with the Nigerians for heroin, allowing the Colombians to open up a lucrative new heroin trade in North America and the Nigerians to sell cocaine in Europe. Meanwhile, the Colombians partnered with the Sicilian Mafia in an attempt to break into the European market (Williams).
There can be no doubt, though, that working as a police officer in Colombia qualifies as one of the worldĂs most dangerous occupations. In 1997, 160 members of the Colombian National Police were killed in the line of duty, most while engaged in anti-drug operations (Constantine International). In 1995, the anti-drug police were attacked without provocation 36 times, resulting in the deaths of 22 agents and injuries to 46 others. In addition, traffickers and guerrillas downed four police planes and helicopters and destroyed a police base in the Colombian city of Miraflores, a hotbed for drug trafficking (Eaton A1).
The European market presented challenges as well as opportunities for the Colombian drug cartels. Unlike the Americans, the Europeans have not been vigilant in their anti-drug efforts. However, in Europe, the Colombians had a much higher profile than in the polyglot U.S., and a substantial portion of those arrested for drug trafficking were Colombian. So the drug cartels turned to the Sicilian Mafia and its well-established distribution channels. Soon the alliance evolved into money laundering, another specialty of the la cosa nostra. For the Sicilians, an alliance with the Colombians gave them the opportunity to regain ground lost to the Asians in the heroin market (Williams).
For most inhabitants of ColombiaĂs prisons, though, life is very harsh. ColombiaĂs prisons are overcrowded, so bad that most inmates serve only 80 percent of their term, at most. Conditions are ripe for violence, a daily occurrence. Lax security also leaves the pr