HomeNewsBriefAre Honduras Drug Flights Down 80% as Officials Claim?
BRIEF

Are Honduras Drug Flights Down 80% as Officials Claim?

HONDURAS / 26 MAR 2014 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

Officials from the United States and Honduras claim drug flights through the country are down 80 percent, but these statements should be approached cautiously as they have yet to provide any hard evidence of such dramatic success in tackling trafficking through the country.

While announcing the discovery of a "narco-plane" along the La Mosquitia coastline, Jorge Alberto Fernandez, commander of Honduras' air force, repeated earlier claims that drug flights had dropped 80 percent over the last year or so, reported La Prensa.

This figure was first cited by John Kelly, US Southern Command (SouthCom) commander, who made the claim during a recent visit to Honduras with US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William Brownfield.

Fernandez's comments came shortly after the arrival of the first of three radar systems bought from Israel to detect drug flights earlier in March, and the passing of the "Law of Aerial Exclusion," authorizing the air force to shoot down suspected drug flights, in January.

InSight Crime Analysis

The aftermath of the 2009 coup in Honduras saw drug traffickers move rapidly into the country, making it the principal air bridge between South America and the United States, overtaking previously common routes such as the island of Hispaniola. In 2012, the US State Department estimated that 75 percent of all northern bound cocaine smuggling flights departing South America first landed in Honduras.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

This development made Honduras an attractive destination for traffickers, as air transport is a relatively cost-efficient and less risky way of quickly transporting large amounts of drugs over large distances. In comparison, land and sea transport requires numerous logistical steps involving various people -- each time multiplying the cost and risk.

The recent steps taken by the Honduran authorities to install radar and authorize the shooting down of drug planes suggests the country may finally be taking concrete action to try to address the country's role as an air bridge. However, these measures have not had time to take effect and so there is no obvious reason why drug flights could have dropped by 80 percent, as stated.

Given this, and the lack of statistical evidence to support the claim, it seems too early for Honduras -- or for the United States -- to make such bold claims of success.

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.

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

COVID AND CRIME / 30 NOV 2021

Leftist opposition candidate Xiomara Castro appears to have ridden a wave of outrage to become Honduras' next president, beating out…

COCAINE / 16 FEB 2021

Corruptible customs officials and porous borders facilitate the smuggling of migrants and drugs from Ocotepeque into Guatemala, along with flows of…

ELITES AND CRIME / 10 MAR 2022

The arrest and possible extradition of a former Honduras police chief suspected of drug trafficking could provide explosive evidence in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…