HomeNewsBriefBolivia to Scan Oil Trucks for Drugs, Following Scandal
BRIEF

Bolivia to Scan Oil Trucks for Drugs, Following Scandal

BOLIVIA / 4 AUG 2015 BY ARRON DAUGHERTY EN

Bolivia is set to begin more intensive inspections of state company oil trucks bound for Argentina, after uncovering a drug trafficking ring involving a transportation contractor. 

Bolivia's customs agency, anti-drug trafficking agency, and state oil firm YPFB signed an agreement to begin scanning the cargo of oil trucks contracted by YPFB to move product to Argentina, local press reported

The agreement follows a recent scandal involving a transportation contractor, Jose Luis Cejas, who is accused of leading a criminal group that smuggled cocaine and marijuana from Bolivia into Argentina via state-contracted oil trucks. Prior to having his contracts cancelled, Cejas was YPFB's largest diesel fuel transporter and commanded a fleet of 90 trucks, according to local newspaper Correo del Sur.  

The head of Bolivia's customs agency said the inspections would involve support from anti-drug police unit the FELCN, which will provide "risk profiles" of likely suspects.  

InSight Crime Analysis

While scanning state-contracted oil trucks is a good step towards combating drug smuggling in Bolivia -- an increasingly important drug trafficking hub in South America -- implementing the improved inspection process may be hampered by corruption.

SEE ALSO:  Evo's Challenge: Bolivia the Drug Hub

YPFB may be able to claim a degree of distance from the Cejas scandal, as the suspects involved are contracted workers and not direct employees of the state oil firm. Nevertheless, YPFB is no stranger to corruption. Most recently, authorities arrested a group of YPFB workers accused of influence peddling, in December. "There's corruption within YPFB at all levels," the group's alleged leader Selva Camacho was quoted as saying, adding that even YPFB president Carlos Villegas was involved in wrongdoing.    

Meanwhile, the head of Bolivia's deputy ministry of social defense and controlled substances, Felipe Carceres, recently denounced organized crime's alleged infiltration of FELCN, during a press conference. According to Carceres, FELCN agents have been passing information to drug traffickers, allowing them to avoid arrests and police operations. Disciplinary actions are proceeding against more than 60 FELCN agents, with 15 already in jail. All this casts doubt on the FELCN's proposed role in the oil truck inspection process. 

Cejas and his drug trafficking ring may be a case of bad apples among YPFB contractors. However, if the state oil company does not subject their contractors to greater scrutiny, then Cejas may not be the only alleged drug trafficker taking advantage of YPFB transport routes.  

It is also troubling that state-contracted oil trucks were not subject to cargo scanning procedures in the first place. While Bolivia is making efforts to address the reality of its growing importance in South America's drug trade, the government often appears a few steps behind organized crime. 

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

COCAINE / 31 JAN 2022

The return of a former Honduran police chief is the first sign that President Xiomara Castro wants to shake up…

BOLIVIA / 23 SEP 2022

As world leaders met for the United Nations General Assembly, Latin American presidents expressed various concerns about organized crime.

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 JUN 2021

Running for office in Mexico means risking one's life. Just one week ahead of local elections on June 6, at…

About InSight Crime

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…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…