HomeNewsBriefAre Bolivia Drug Trafficking Clans Migrating South?
BRIEF

Are Bolivia Drug Trafficking Clans Migrating South?

BOLIVIA / 7 MAR 2014 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

Authorities in Bolivia claim effective policing has displaced local drug trafficking organizations from the north to the south of the country, which, if accurate, is a change more likely driven by market dynamics than security forces pressure.

According to Vice Minister for Social Defense Felipe Caceres, the family-based crime clans that are traditionally involved in Bolivian drug trafficking have relocated from the north of the northwestern province of La Paz to the southern Chaco region, reported La Prensa.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Bolivia

Caceres said the shift had come as a result of successful policing and that few traffickers were left in the northern sector. The official added that local clans were working alongside foreign trafficking groups, principally Colombians, Paraguayans and Brazilians, in the south of the country, reported La Razon.

InSight Crime Analysis

While local press reports frame this apparent migration as a “victory,” in reality Caceres’ comments are suggestive of a situation where drug trafficking has simply been displaced, not defeated to any degree.

It is true that security forces operations have been ramped up in the north of the country, in large part due to aggressive protests among coca growers over eradication initiatives, and therefore it is plausible that traffickers chose to relocate to avoid this pressure.

However, this would only be another example of the “balloon effect” seen throughout the region — whereby security forces pressure squeezes criminal activity in one location, resulting in it relocating to somewhere where there is less heat. This would likely have little bearing on the functioning of the drug trade in the country.

What’s more, with foreign organized crime taking a growing interest in Bolivia, any shift may also be driven by the dynamics of the market. The Chaco region is an expansive area of arid lowland which traverses Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

With Argentina a key retail market, export departure point and source of precursor chemicals, Brazil representing an even bigger market and export departure point, and Paraguay a transit route, the south and east of Bolivia is much more significant than the north to trafficking operations run by both local and foreign groups. It is also where many of the drug flights arriving from Peru land, and Peruvian cocaine powder and base represent the lion’s share of the drugs that pass through Bolivia.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Related Content

BOLIVIA / 17 NOV 2016

A new report details some of the problems facing Bolivia's prison system, and examines some of the challenges policy makers…

ARGENTINA / 23 JUL 2015

An investigation conducted by a non-governmental organization into perceptions of drug activity in Latin America reflects changing patterns in trafficking…

BOLIVIA / 27 NOV 2014

A revealing video from Peru shows the speed with which drug traffickers can load up an aircraft with cocaine before…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…