HomeNewsBriefArgentina Targets Landing Strips Amid Aerial Drug Trafficking Surge
BRIEF

Argentina Targets Landing Strips Amid Aerial Drug Trafficking Surge

ARGENTINA / 17 JUN 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Authorities in Argentina have detected 1,400 unauthorized landing strips and are taking steps to eliminate them, showing concern over aerial drug trafficking through the country.

On June 16, Security Minister Sergio Berni said officials had identified these landing strips near Argentina’s northern border, reported EFE. The landing strips are located on private property, and while most were reportedly registered with the National Administration for Civil Aviation (ANAC) at some point, the owners have not kept the authorization up-to-date.

Police investigators said the landing strips could explain an increase in illegal flights, as some are likely used by drug traffickers.

National authorities reportedly plan to request collaboration from provincial governments in destroying unauthorized landing strips at the next Security Council meeting. 

In spite of a growing problem with air trafficking, authorities in Argentina have rejected the idea of passing a shoot down law similar to the one neighboring Bolivia passed this April, which would allow security forces to target unauthorized planes. Berni said such a measure would be unconstitutional in Argentina. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Argentina is both a transit point for drug shipments and home to South America’s second-largest domestic cocaine market. Over the last year, according to the Security Ministry, authorities have detained over 4,000 suspected drug traffickers, and seized 225 tons of marijuana and almost 20 tons of cocaine.     

In addition to employing land routes, traffickers use aerial routes to bring cocaine and marijuana from Bolivia and Paraguay. Flights typically land on clandestine airstrips in the northern border region, particularly in the provinces of Salta, Santiago del Estero, Tucuman and Jujuy. Between mid-2011 and the end of 2013, authorities detected 800 irregular flights in northern Argentina. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Argentina

While destroying unauthorized landing strips may deter some drug flights, as seen with authorities’ struggle against aerial drug trafficking in Peru, clandestine runways pop up again. Furthermore, drug traffickers can use alternate methods of unloading their cargo, such as dropping it from the sky.

The task of combatting drug flights is further complicated by the fact that, as of November 2013, Argentina only had four radar devices monitoring the northeastern border region, which only operated part time. 

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.

Related Content

COVID AND CRIME / 16 DEC 2020

Several inmates at a Venezuela prison scaled a wall to escape to a part of the complex where prison bosses…

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…

ARGENTINA / 23 MAY 2016

Argentina approved the extradition of top Colombian drug lord "Mi Sangre" to the United States, creating speculation as to what…

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…