Europe is an appealing market, Grayson says, where groups like the Sinaloa cartel are seeing various possibilities to expand. Cocaine prices, for starters, are nearly twice as high as in the U.S., according to the security firm Stratfor. Moreover, in Europe the cartels won't face the same kind of pressure they might face at home if Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto decides to pursue them as aggressively as his predecessor did, according to Grayson.
"Right now, la moneda está en el aire [the coin is in the air]," Grayson said in reference to the Peña Nieto administration's security policies. "But if the government comes up with an effective counterdrug initiative, then that would certainly encourage the cartels to expand their interests in Europe."
European authorities, meanwhile, are already concerned about the current levels of criminal participation of the cartels, especially given the Mexican criminal groups' ruthless execution and takeover methods.
"We do not want the level of violence and brutality which we see in Mexico mirrored in Europe. Together with our law enforcement partners we will continue our efforts to tackle the criminals who are active within the illegal drug markets and ensure that Mexican organized crime groups cannot gain a foothold in Europe," Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, said.