HomeNewsBriefChile Destination for Bolivian Cocaine Moved by 'Mules'
BRIEF

Chile Destination for Bolivian Cocaine Moved by 'Mules'

BOLIVIA / 3 MAY 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

A spate of arrests of people smuggling cocaine in their stomachs while travelling by bus from Bolivia to Chile has led authorities to make the claim that Chile is now the main destination for "mules" trafficking drugs. 

In 12 operations so far this year, Bolivia's Special Anti-Narcotics Police (FELCN) have arrested 29 people along the route from Cochabamba, among them mules (carriers), recruiters, suppliers, and those who prepared the capsules for ingestion, reported La Razon. All but one of those arrested -- a Colombian who converted the cocaine to liquid form -- were Bolivian nationals.

15 mules arrested were passengers on buses headed to Iquique, in north Chile. According to the FELCN, each was offered between $1,000 and $1,200 to ingest approximately one kilo of cocaine, with mules recruited from the ranks of the poor and the desperate. Those responsible for shipping and receiving the drugs were families with members living in both cities, said prosecutors.

According to the FELCN, Chile has now overtaken Argentina and Brazil as the main destination for drugs smuggled by this method.

InSight Crime Analysis

The reports of the FELCN operations raise several questions. Transporting swallowed drugs by bus seems an unusual technique given the ease with which mules could carry the same, relatively small quantities over the border by simply crossing at unmarked points with no border controls --  the "hormiga" (ant) system, which is commonly used to traffic Bolivian cocaine to Argentina. 

However, it is true that Chile is becoming an increasingly important transit country for traffickers who both sell cocaine on the domestic market and also move it on to other destinations such as Europe. In the cases of mules leaving from Cochabamba, it is more likely the drugs were destined for sale in Chile, given the comparatively small quantities involved.  

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

ARGENTINA / 23 DEC 2021

A spree of illegal fishing occurred across Latin America this past year, much of it driven by competition for diminishing…

BOLIVIA / 9 AUG 2022

Politicians are pushing for the Chilean government to declare a state of emergency in the northern regions including Tarapacá…

CHILE / 8 OCT 2020

While ruins have long been looted to supply the black market trade in antiquities, silver and textiles stolen from a…

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…