Drug traffickers with close ties to Colombian guerrilla group the FARC are operating in Bolivia, according to the country’s anti-narcotics police force.
The head of the Special Anti-Narcotics Police (FELCN), Jose Quezada Camacho, said in a report that a drug laboratory uncovered by Bolivian security forces in October had been operated by a group of Colombian traffickers working with the FARC.
The drug lab, situated in the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory, in the Cochabamba province, operated on a very large scale. According to Bolivia’s defense minister, Ruben Saavedra Soto, it had a daily production capacity of over 100 kilos of high-purity cocaine, and had been in operation for at least three years.
In gunfights when taking over the lab, Bolivian security forces killed two suspects who were later revealed to be Colombian nationals Yeison David Sosa Rincon and Jose Wilmar Toro Garcia.
According to Jose Camacho Quezada, intelligence reports received from Colombia’s national police confirmed that Sosa, Toro, and other Colombian nationals who escaped from the laboratory during the fighting had established the cocaine refining laboratory, and that they were all “linked to the FARC."
The Cochabamba region is one of Bolivia’s main cocaine producing regions. As InSight Crime has previously reported, the area around Santa Cruz in eastern Bolivia has recently emerged as a major drug trafficking hub, forming part of a “drug highway” connecting Cochabamba to West Africa and Europe.