HomeNewsBriefChile's Status as Marijuana Destination of Choice Confirmed by Record Bust
BRIEF

Chile's Status as Marijuana Destination of Choice Confirmed by Record Bust

CHILE / 6 DEC 2019 BY KATRINE THOMPSON EN

The seizure of a marijuana shipment of over 4 tons in Chile in November, the largest drug bust in the country’s history, has confirmed that the Chilean market makes it a destination of choice for Colombia’s marijuana smugglers.

On November 19, the Chilean navy seized 4.2 tons of ‘cripy’ marijuana on a boat off the coast of the southern region of O’Higgins, with an estimated street value of $25 million. The shipment came from Colombia and six Colombian nationals were arrested on board the vessel.

According to Chile’s director of investigative police, Hector Espinosa, the drug was set to be distributed across the country, while O’Higgins chief prosecutor, Javier von Bischoffshausen said that Chilean authorities had been tracking this drug ring for nine months.

SEE ALSO: Synthesized ‘Spirit Molecule’ Caters to Evolving Chile Drug Demand

Chile has been increasingly targeted by Colombian drug traffickers in recent years, especially due to its demand for the highly potent ‘cripy’ strain of marijuana.

Drug busts of marijuana have been steadily increasing. In 2017, 426 kilograms of Colombian cripy was seized in Santiago and in 2018, a seizure of 853 kilograms of cripy destined for Chile was made in Peru.

At 15.10 percent of the population, Chile ranks first in Latin America and fifth in the world for cannabis consumption per capita, according to UNODC’s most recent statistics.

Cripy has become Colombia’s newest international hit. It was long produced principally for domestic use but recent seizures have indicated a shift towards Latin American markets in Trinidad and Tobago, Central America, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile.

InSight Crime Analysis

The flow of cripy into Chile is rising rapidly and is set to continue. This most recent seizure in O’Higgins is almost ten times larger than the country’s second-largest seizure just two years earlier.

This suggests that Colombian traffickers have gone from a foothold to a stranglehold on the Chilean market over the last two years, seeing it as a priority destination for their crops and one which is a lot closer than North American markets.

In an attempt to tackle rising drug trafficking, Chilean president Sebastián Piñera recently deployed troops to the country’s border region with Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. But the government is yet to devise a plan to specifically tackle Colombian marijuana trafficking. And while previous Chilean governments advocated decriminalisation of drug use, that of  Piñera is resolutely against the idea.

Chile’s higher than average consumption of marijuana may be attributable to its successful economy and growing middle class. As the second wealthiest country in Latin America, cripy is somewhat more affordable for the average Chilean citizen than in other Latin American countries. In Chile, Colombian traffickers can sell cripy for as much as $5,000 per kilogram, yielding far more profit than at home.

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

CHILE / 14 AUG 2019

The government of Chile has sent the army to its northern border in an effort to stop the influx of…

ARGENTINA / 28 JAN 2020

Unrest gripped much of Latin America and the Caribbean throughout 2019. From record violence in Mexico that recalled the darkest…

CHILE / 4 JUN 2013

Officials have revealed details of new trends concerning human trafficking in Chile, as this otherwise relatively safe country's strong economy…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…