HomeNewsBriefArgentina's Ports 'Free Zones' for Drug Trafficking: Inspector General
BRIEF

Argentina's Ports 'Free Zones' for Drug Trafficking: Inspector General

ARGENTINA / 11 JUL 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Serious failings in inspections at Argentina's ports and airports are facilitating the flow of illegal drugs, says the country's inspector general, raising further concerns about the movement of cocaine through the Southern Cone nation.

Leandro Despouy, head of Argentina's Inspector General's Office (AGN), claimed the country's ports and airways serve as "free zones" for drug traffickers and called the absence of controls "deliberate," reported La Nacion. A recently released AGN evaluation of controls in ports in Buenos Aires, Campana and San Lorenzo between June 2010 and June 2012 found that scanners in these ports failed to distinguish between organic and inorganic substances, preventing them from determining whether drugs were present in containers.

The head of the customs office rejected the AGN's claims, stating that Despouy "lacks the technical knowledge" necessary to evaluate controls, that he never met with customs officials about the matter, and that Argentina is a "leader" in scanner technology. However, the customs head at one Buenos Aires port terminal anonymously told La Nacion the AGN's findings were correct.

In an earlier report, the AGN noted numerous flaws in airport anti-drug controls in Ezeiza, Cordoba and Mendoza, including inadequate scanner systems and a lack of regulations to determine which commercial airliners be inspected.

InSight Crime Analysis

According to the latest UNODC World Drug Report, Argentina is the third most often cited country of provenance for cocaine seizures around the world, and its growing drug market is evidenced by the fact that authorities seized 40 percent more cocaine between January and October 2012 than in the same period the year before.

Despite the government's sharp rejection of the AGN's claims, other investigations have suggested a lack of controls in parts of Argentina contributes to drug trafficking. A 2012 investigation found a lack of law enforcement checkpoints along the Route 34 highway, which stretches from Bolivia to Buenos Aires, despite the fact that it is believed to be the key cocaine smuggling route for drugs headed to the country's main cities.

The province of Chaco near the border with Paraguay and Bolivia has also been called a drug trafficking "free zone" and is considered a major transit point for drug flights.

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 / 11 JAN 2022

As Brazil works to maintain its dominance of the soybean market, it is facing an ascending challenge: a flood of…

ARGENTINA / 30 SEP 2022

The capture of a young member of the Cantero family, leaders of the Monos, underlines their persistence in Argentina.

ARGENTINA / 12 SEP 2022

Synthetic drugs like methamphetamine, fentanyl, and ecstasy are reshaping Latin America's drug trade.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Coverage Continues to be Highlighted

3 MAR 2023

This week, InSight Crime co-director Jeremy McDermott was the featured guest on the Americas Quarterly podcast, where he provided an expert overview of the changing dynamics…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Organized Crime Top 10 Attracts Attention

24 FEB 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published its ranking of Venezuela’s ten organized crime groups to accompany the launch of the Venezuela Organized Crime Observatory. Read…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime on El País Podcast

10 FEB 2023

This week, InSight Crime co-founder, Jeremy McDermott, was among experts featured in an El País podcast on the progress of Colombia’s nascent peace process.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Interviewed by Associated Press

3 FEB 2023

This week, InSight Crime’s Co-director Jeremy McDermott was interviewed by the Associated Press on developments in Haiti as the country continues its prolonged collapse. McDermott’s words were republished around the world,…

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…