HomeNewsBriefBolivia Govt Admits Major Cocaine Transit
BRIEF

Bolivia Govt Admits Major Cocaine Transit

BOLIVIA / 26 NOV 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Bolivia’s interior minister has admitted the country has “technological weaknesses” that make it difficult to properly track incoming drug flights, but failed to acknowledge the country’s more direct role in the drug trade, as a cocaine producer.

“Bolivia’s principal problem is its status as a transit country and its vulnerability,” Interior Minister Carlos Romero told La Razon. He said a lack of radar and tracking equipment had limited the government’s capacity to identify illegal flights and clandestine landing strips in Bolivia, but that officials were constantly working to destroy the illegal air strips they found.

Romero said the government had identified the tri-border region between Peru, Bolivia and Brazil as a key point of entry for drug flights, and that Bolivia was working with Peru to exchange information and engage in joint anti-drug actions.

A day earlier, Peruvian authorities reported killing a Bolivian pilot as he attempted to take 270 kilos of cocaine out of the country using a clandestine air strip in the central Pasco province, reported El Comercio.

InSight Crime Analysis

Peru has become both the world’s top coca grower and primary cocaine producer, and according to a recent report, three or four Bolivian drug planes now enter Peru each day to bring an average of 300 kilos of cocaine each flight into Bolivia. This cocaine is often sold on to domestic markets in Brazil and Argentina or exported to Europe. The tri-border region between Peru, Brazil and Bolivia has become a particular drug trafficking haven.

In this context, Bolivia’s technological limitations are a serious problem. The country’s importance as a transit nation for Brazilian-bound cocaine has already helped convert the eastern Santa Cruz province into an operational hub for transnational criminal groups and raised fears of increasing drug-related violence. Its inability to combat drug flights, coupled with Peru’s own limited radar technology, is likely to see trafficking through the country continue to grow.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Bolivia

What Romero failed to mention is Bolivia’s more direct role in the drug trade, as a cocaine producer. Bolivia produces far more coca than can be absorbed by legal markets, meaning much of the leaf is diverted for illicit use. In recent months, authorities discovered several cocaine laboratories near the Peruvian border and claimed drug production was rising. Following the release of a government study detailing legal coca needs, the European Union expressed concern over increased cocaine production as well as transit through the country.

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

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

In Buenos Aires, a shootout between gangs in a public housing development has highlighted a deficiency in Argentina’s public housing…

BOLIVIA / 9 AUG 2022

Politicians are pushing for the Chilean government to declare a state of emergency in the northern regions including Tarapacá…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 18 NOV 2020

Authorities in Mexico will face one of their biggest anti-corruption tests yet after a bombshell deal was brokered with the…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…