Bolivia’s counter-narcotics police unit has dismantled a huge cocaine-producing laboratory in the province of Santa Cruz, in the east of the country.
The drug lab was discovered in a jungle area in the province of Santa Rosa de Sara, 120 kilometers from the city of Santa Cruz. It was fitted with a power generator, refrigerator, air conditioning unit and sleeping areas.
Bolivian police said it was one of the largest drug labs they have destroyed this year. The site was spread over two hectares and it is suspected that 30 people worked there. It is estimated that the facility had the capacity to produce up to 500 kilos of cocaine per week.
Police made no arrests, and reports indicated that the lab’s workforce escaped into the mountains as narcotics agents approached the compound.
Director of the Special Force against Drug Trafficking (FELCN), Fernando Amurrio, said the lab may have cost one million dollars to construct. It is believed that the site was operated by Colombian drug traffickers due to the high quality of technology in the lab.
InSight Crime recently reported on the emergence of the area around Santa Cruz, in Eastern Bolivia, as a major drug trafficking hub. Santa Cruz is part of a “drug highway” connecting the coca-producing region of Cochabamba to West Africa and Europe.