HomeNewsBriefArgentina Admits It Has a Drug Problem
BRIEF

Argentina Admits It Has a Drug Problem

ARGENTINA / 17 FEB 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Argentina's defense minister has acknowledged the country is now a drug producer, an admission that underscores the increasing strength of the drug trade, as violence rises in major production and distribution centers.

"Argentina used to be a transit country, now it's a consumer country, and what is more serious, it is a producer country," Defense Minister Agustin Rossi told Radio Rivadavia.

He pointed particularly to the situation in Rosario, where turf wars between rival drug gangs have led to rising violence in the past year, reported La Nacion.

Security Minister Sergio Berni was quick to deny Rossi's claims, stating: "Those of us who work every day in the fight against drug trafficking know that Argentina is not a producer," reported Radio Rivadavia.

Rossi's comments come as the government considers implementing a new anti-drug strategy that would place more responsibility in the hands of local police and provincial courts to target drug distribution points, which provincial governments say are responsible for much of the street crime, reported La Nacion.

InSight Crime Analysis

While Argentina has long been used as a refuge by foreign drug lords, lax regulations on precursor chemicals have made the country increasingly attractive to transnational criminal groups, it is one of South America's two biggest domestic markets for cocaine, and an important transit point for Europe-bound cocaine.

As Mexican cartels have begun to establish a more permanent presence in the country, drug production has also grown within Argentina's borders. In the past year, cocaine "kitchens" have been discovered in Rosario, the Patagonia region and Buenos Aires, while recent discoveries of ecstasy laboratories also point to rising synthetic drug production.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Criminal Migration

At the same time, increases in violence in the likes of Rosario, which lies at the end of Argentina's famous "Ruta 34" cocaine trafficking highway, indicates growing strength among both foreign and domestic drug trafficking groups -- with turf battles in Rosario producing record homicide numbers in 2013.

As evidenced by Berni's quick rejection of Rossi's claims regarding domestic production, the issue is highly politicized. With Rossi recently coming out to refute the possibility of deploying troops to deal the problem, it is a security issue likely to feature prominently in the run up to presidential elections in 2015. 

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 / 18 SEP 2018

Changing dynamics in the criminal world, new government control strategies and fast technological advances are forcing organized crime groups to…

ARGENTINA / 19 MAR 2015

Authorities in Argentina busted a large-scale synthetic drug lab, further demonstrating that domestic production of synthetic drugs is becoming more…

ARGENTINA / 10 APR 2014

Argentina's largest ever anti-drug operation took place in Rosario this week, indicating authorities are feeling pressured to act against rising…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.