HomeNewsBriefContraband Beef Used to Launder Colombia Drug Money
BRIEF

Contraband Beef Used to Launder Colombia Drug Money

COLOMBIA / 1 MAY 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Colombian officials have seized 11 tons of contraband meat near the border with Venezuela, which authorities have linked to the money laundering operations of guerrillas and other drug trafficking organizations.

Colombia's National Directorate of Taxes and Customs (DIAN) discovered a truck packed with meat from an estimated 600 cows in the city of Cucuta in Norte de Santander.

Authorities believe the trade in contraband beef in the region is linked to the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the drug trafficking neo-paramilitary groups the Urabeños and the Rastrojos. The groups allegedly use the meat trade to launder money and generate revenues to purchase coca, reported Caracol Radio.

DIAN director Juan Ricardo Ortega said that the trade takes advantage of the black market in Venezuelan bolivares, which trades in at just over six to the dollar according to the government's official exchange rate, but can be bought unofficially at 29 to the dollar in the underground economy. The groups purchase the meat in Venezuela at black market prices then sell it on in Colombia, Ortega said.

InSight Crime Analysis

Venezuelan border region Norte de Santander is a coca growing zone and trafficking hub that is home to the FARC, the National Liberation Army (ELN), and the narco-paramilitary groups known as the BACRIM ("bandas criminales," or criminal bands).

It is a common money laundering practice for such groups to invest drug profits in contraband purchased outside of Colombia, typically involving cigarettes, alcohol, and domestic appliances. The goods are then smuggled into Colombia and sold on at discount prices.

The Venezuelan border region is an attractive location for such activities, as the manipulation of the black market in bolivares increases the profits to be made.

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

COLOMBIA / 15 SEP 2021

While not as lucrative as illegal mining, wildlife trafficking is still a multimillion-dollar business.

COLOMBIA / 2 JUL 2021

Authorities and civil society alike are alarmed by how acts of criminal violence appear to be specifically targeting women in…

COLOMBIA / 21 DEC 2021

The Segunda Marquetalia has seen its leadership decimated under bizarre circumstances, in the only place where the powerful Colombian dissident…

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…