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 / 28 SEP 2011

Coca cultivation stabilized in Bolivia last year, according to a report by the United Nations, but this has raised concerns…

BOLIVIA / 3 JAN 2018

Cocaine is one of the world’s most in-demand drugs. Its production center is in the Andean region of Colombia, Peru…

BOLIVIA / 9 JUL 2013

Transparency International's latest corruption survey highlights the extent of police corruption in Latin America, drawing attention to one of the…

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…