HomeNewsBriefBolivia Arrests Amazon-Based Drug Trafficker
BRIEF

Bolivia Arrests Amazon-Based Drug Trafficker

BOLIVIA / 19 NOV 2012 BY CLAIRE O NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

Bolivian authorities have captured an alleged drug trafficker who reportedly ran a narcotics smuggling operation in the border region between Bolivia and Brazil, highlighting the increasing participation of Bolivian traffickers in the transnational drug trade in South America.

On November 18, Bolivian anti-drug police arrested Mauro Vasquez, who authorities called one of Bolivia's "most wanted and dangerous" drug traffickers, reported EFE news agency. Authorities hope to transfer Vasquez, who was arrested in 2008 but escaped from prison, to a maximum security facility, so that he cannot escape again.

Vasquez reportedly ran a major drug smuggling operation out of Pando, a province in the Bolivian Amazon on the border with Brazil and Peru. According to La Jornada, authorities believe that Vasquez ordered as as many as 20 murders in 2007, and 12 in 2008.

Bolivian authorities also indicated Vasquez's organization may have ties with Brazilian criminal groups such as the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital - PCC) and the Red Command (Comando Vermelho), reported La Razon.

InSight Crime Analysis

According to a Bolivian Interior Ministry report cited by La Razon, Vasquez is the fourth major drug capo captured in Bolivia recently. On November 10, Paraguay's anti-drug agency (SENAD) arrested Bolivian drug kingpin Marco Antonio Roca Ali, alias "El Presi," and several other Bolivian nationals during a raid on a sophisticated drug trafficking operation in the province of Canindeyu, along Paraguay's eastern border with Brazil.

The arrest of Bolivian traffickers operating at the transnational level underscores how the criminal landscape in Bolivia has expanded beyond just coca production. In recent years, many regions in Bolivia, particularly the eastern province of Santa Cruz, have become major drug trafficking hotspots due to their proximity to Brazil, Latin America's largest market for cocaine, and to Paraguay, a frequent transit point for smugglers.

While Bolivian authorities have repeatedly denied that foreign drug trafficking organizations have a presence in Bolivia beyond cartel "emissaries," new evidence suggests that foreign cartels have begun "subcontracting" Bolivia's traditional family-run criminal enterprises to process cocaine and help them ship it abroad.

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 / 8 MAY 2014

The United States has announced the withdrawal of key anti-drug personnel from Ecuador in an apparent tit-for-tat reaction to the…

BOLIVIA / 26 AUG 2016

The trafficking of jaguar teeth from Bolivia's natural parks to China has sparked worries that Asian smugglers are boosting this…

BOLIVIA / 9 JUN 2016

Anti-narcotics agents report finding more than 1,000 clandestine landing strips in Bolivia over the past three years, illustrating…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…