HomeNewsBriefBolivia's 2012 Cocaine Seizures Up
BRIEF

Bolivia's 2012 Cocaine Seizures Up

BOLIVIA / 20 NOV 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

Bolivia has seized 34 tons of cocaine so far this year, an increase on 2011, and indicative of Bolivia's increasing importance as a supplier of cocaine for regional and international organized crime.

President Evo Morales’ government announced on November 19 that during 2012 authorities have seized some 34 tons of cocaine, surpassing the 2011 total of 33 tons, according to EFE.

On the same day the figures were released, Bolivia’s anti-narcotics unit, the FELCN (Special Force for the Fight Against Drug Trafficking - Fuerza Especial de Lucha Contra el Narcotrafico), dismantled a laboratory used to process coca base into cocaine hydrochloride (HCl) in the eastern department of Santa Cruz, reported Prensa Latina.

The government added that so far in 2012, 10,000 hectares of coca – the raw material for cocaine – have been destroyed and that anti-narcotics police have detained 3,794 people. Of these, 308 were foreigners from Colombia, Brazil, Peru and Argentina, among other countries.

InSight Crime Analysis

According to the latest United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report on Bolivia’s coca production, coca cultivation and cocaine seizures are on divergent paths - cultivation dropped 13 percent between 2010 and 2011 to 27,200 hectares while seizures rose 16 percent in the same period. The seizures comprised both coca base and HCl, with the latter making up over 16 percent of the total. The Bolivian government did not give details on how much HCl was in the 34 tons seized this year.

The discovery of the HCl lab in Santa Cruz represents one factor which may explain the contrasting trends. Employment of the so-called “Colombian method" of processing cocaine, which involves a more sophisticated extraction technique of the cocaine alkaloid, ensuring greater yields, is often cited as the reason for Bolivia’s apparently increasing capacity to produce cocaine.

In addition, Santa Cruz is becoming an a favored drug trafficking and production hub for criminals in the region. Though the government has frequently denied that foreign cartels have a permanent presence in the department, there is evidence of Brazilian and Colombian gangs running networks here. Compounding this problem are the levels of corruption, something which prompted the government to open investigations into corrupt officials in August.

According to an El Universal report from earlier this year, the rise in cocaine production in Bolivia means that the country could now be the second largest supplier of cocaine to Mexican cartels, after Colombia, based on information obtained from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

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

BOLIVIA / 21 APR 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has halted trafficking in Peru and sent cocaine prices plummeting, but drug seizures continue in the border department of Ucayali,…

ARGENTINA / 30 JAN 2019

Authorities in Bolivia have arrested a major player in the Castedo Clan, one of the most powerful drug trafficking clans…

BOLIVIA / 31 MAY 2013

A Bolivian government official says that a recent incident involving coca growers attacking the security forces was spurred by Peruvian…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…