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.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 9 DEC 2014

The results of the 2014 LAPOP survey show that perceptions of insecurity are on the rise in Latin America, particularly…

BOLIVIA / 19 JUL 2012

Iran will provide training and equipment to Bolivia’s anti-drug task force, demonstrating Bolivia’s determination to look beyond the United States…

BOLIVIA / 19 NOV 2010

Both the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense for Bolivia and Paraguay signed a bilateral agreement yesterday during the fourth…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…