HomeNewsBriefArgentina Seizes 12,000 Pills in Synthetic Drug Ring Bust
BRIEF

Argentina Seizes 12,000 Pills in Synthetic Drug Ring Bust

ARGENTINA / 19 MAR 2015 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

Authorities in Argentina busted a large-scale synthetic drug lab, further demonstrating that domestic production of synthetic drugs is becoming more evident in the country, which is also a significant transit nation for drug smuggling. 

On March 17, an anti-narcotics division of the federal police conducted 20 raids — dubbed “Operation Rola Fest” — throughout the Buenos Aires metropolitan area on orders from a federal judge, reported Clarin.

One raid in a Buenos Aires suburb resulted in the arrest of 13 people and the seizure of over 12,000 pills, with material to prepare at least 40,000 more. The pills have been classified as ecstasy, although their exact chemical composition is still unknown.

Police also found drug-making equipment, 150 grams of Chinese crystal meth, precursor chemicals from Brazil, Germany, and Bolivia, and a large quantity of ibuprofen used to cut the drug. According to La Nacion, an investigator said the Argentines running the lab were “in charge of the whole process, from production to final sale.”

Two of those arrested were disc jockeys, and the group was allegedly planning on selling their pills — at a price of around $22 per dose — during the upcoming Lollapalooza festival in San Isidro.

The operation was the result of more than seven months of investigation into the drug ring, which operated in the northern Buenos Aires metropolitan area.

Security Minister Sergio Berni described the group members as “upper-middle class” who all drove imported cars, and that they would organize private parties in wealthy areas of the Buenos Aires to market their pills.

InSight Crime Analysis

In recent years, synthetic drug production in Argentina has seen a remarkable increase, largely driven by demand from the country’s party scene.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Argentina

In 2013, authorities uncovered the first ecstasy lab in Buenos Aires, following a documented increase in the drug’s use among the general population throughout the early 2000s.

This more recent bust comes as further evidence that Argentina is no longer just a way station for drugs passing through to somewhere else, but a growing consumer nation in its own right.

In an interview last week, Pope Francis — again speaking on the drug trade in his native country — expressed concern over growing drug consumption in Argentina; statements that were refuted by the president’s chief of staff, who maintained the country was a drug transit (not consumer) nation.

Nonetheless, while some government officials remain in denial over the realities of Argentina’s domestic drug scene, others have acknowledged the growing problem, and have become increasingly critical of the government’s efforts to confront drug trafficking.

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

ARGENTINA / 3 NOV 2016

A report has mapped how marijuana is trafficked through Paraguay and Argentina via thousands of kilometers of river, providing an…

ARGENTINA / 17 JUN 2013

A coordinated “mega-wave” of raids has exposed an alleged major money laundering and tax evasion scheme involving soccer clubs…

ARGENTINA / 30 SEP 2014

In a case that could potentially set an important precedent for Argentina's ability to go after local organized crime, the…

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…