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

BOLIVIA / 28 JUL 2011

Nearly three years after expelling the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from Bolivia, President Evo Morales continues to accuse the…

BOLIVIA / 24 OCT 2012

Bolivian police believe there are at least ten criminal organizations in the country that are run from inside prisons, highlighting…

BOLIVIA / 19 OCT 2012

The Bolivian government has vowed to crack down on the thriving trade in vehicles stolen in neighboring countries and trafficked…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

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.