HomeNewsBriefArgentina Seizes 80 Tons of Precursors Along Bolivia Border
BRIEF

Argentina Seizes 80 Tons of Precursors Along Bolivia Border

ARGENTINA / 28 JUL 2016 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Authorities in Argentina seized a massive 80-ton shipment of precursor chemicals used to make cocaine just meters from the Bolivian border, highlighting the nation's importance as a supplier in the region's illicit drug trade. 

Members of Argentina's National Gendarmerie recently seized 77 tons of sodium bicarbonate in a house that served as a covert storage facility in the northern border city of Salvador Mazza, reported La Nación. Authorities later found seven more tons at a nearby depot located some 30 meters from the Bolivian frontier.

The area where the precursors were discovered is mostly poor, and many locals rely on smuggling contraband goods across the border to make a living, according to La Nación. 

A Gendarmerie official said the bust "was an important blow" to drug trafficking in the area because it's rare for authorities to seize such a large amount of precursor chemicals.  

Two Syrian nationals were also arrested, who authorities suspect of being major purveyors of precursors for cocaine laboratories in Bolivia, reported La Nación.

InSight Crime Analysis

The huge bust illustrates the key role Argentina plays in supplying the ingredients essential to producing cocaine. Authorities, for instance, seized over 65 tons of sodium bicarbonate in the same northern part of the country in 2013. Once the chemicals are used to transform coca leaves into cocaine in Bolivia, the drug sometimes moves back across the border into Argentina to supply that country's cocaine users. Some of the cocaine is shipped on to Europe, where prices and profit margins are much higher.  

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Argentina

In addition to cocaine, Argentina is a major supplier of precursor chemicals used to make synthetic drugs like methamphetamine. The country is considered a principal source of precursors for Mexican drug trafficking groups, including the Sinaloa Cartel. Large-scale synthetic drug busts suggest production is also increasing to keep up with the growing popularity of these drugs among late night party-goers

Government corruption is often cited as enabling traffic in both classes of precursor chemicals to flourish. In the most recent case, a judge who had granted the Syrian nationals a legal injunction in 2010 was arrested this year on suspicion of having received bribes from alleged drug traffickers. And several high-level officials in the administration of former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (2007-2015) have been linked to traffickers of ephedrine, a precursor for making methamphetamine. 

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

EL CHAPO / 23 FEB 2021

The indictment of the wife of convicted Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera has revealed her alleged role…

ARGENTINA / 26 APR 2022

Authorities in Chile are sounding the alarm over repeated seizures of small quantities of arms being trafficked through Argentina, especially…

CHILE / 16 SEP 2022

Chile has recently seized several new psychoactive substances (NPS), highlighting the growing diversity of its drug markets.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…

WORK WITH US

Work With Us: Research Internship and Editorial Internship

31 OCT 2022

InSight Crime, a think tank dedicated to the study of organized crime and citizen security in the Americas, is seeking interns and investigators to join its dynamic, multinational team.