HomeNewsBriefArgentina Busts First Buenos Aires Ecstasy Lab
BRIEF

Argentina Busts First Buenos Aires Ecstasy Lab

ARGENTINA / 27 SEP 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Police in Argentina have uncovered a drug lab and seized 200,000 ecstasy tablets and precursor chemicals in Buenos Aires, in a bust that indicates criminals may have begun domestic production to cater for the country's growing party drug market.

According to Security Minister Sergio Berni, the small laboratory is the first synthetic drug laboratory ever found in the capital. It was found to contain 25,000 tablets and the primary materials to produce a further 100,000, reported La Nacion

The bust was one of 15 raids throughout the capital, which turned up a total of 200,000 ecstasy tablets, as well as five guns, cocaine and cash, reported Terra Argentina. According to Berni the materials for the drugs originated in China.

National police arrested the laboratory's owner -- a Spanish national who had previously served prison time in his homeland for similar crimes -- and four other suspects, among them a nightclub bouncer accused of distributing the drugs. Berni said the arrests were the result of a wider police effort to target ecstasy dealers.

InSight Crime Analysis

Argentina has a small, but apparently growing, market for ecstasy. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), it is one of the Latin American countries with the most cocaine, amphetamine and ecstasy users -- along with Uruguay, Chile and Colombia.

A 2011 Argentine government study found that lifetime ecstasy use had risen from 0.3 to 0.7 percent among the general population from 2004 to 2010, and from 0.4 to 1.6 percent among the 25 to 34 age group. Around a quarter of young people said it was easy to obtain. As highlighted by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) 2011 Annual Report, while use in countries such as the UK remains much higher, Argentinean use now far outstrips that of various other European countries, including France. 

Media reports indicate ecstasy sold on the Argentine market is often brought from Europe. In August 2012, Argentine police broke up a European group accused of trafficking ecstasy and other illicit drugs into the country. That same month, a man from the Netherlands -- one of the countries with the highest reported ecstasy seizures in 2011 -- was caught at the Buenos Aires airport with nearly 30,000 tablets. However, the current case indicates that European criminals may be recognizing the potential profits to be made by producing ecstasy within Argentina, rather than bringing it in from abroad. 

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 / 23 JAN 2013

Escalating violence in Argentina's northeastern Santa Fe province has sparked a political war of words, as organized crime takes a…

ARGENTINA / 7 JUN 2021

China’s distant-water fishing fleet is once again engaging in suspicious and potentially illegal fishing near Argentinean waters, demonstrating the limits…

ARGENTINA / 14 NOV 2018

The launch of a new registry detailing thousands of corrupt officers removed from Argentina’s largest police force could signal a…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…