HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Eradicates $300 Mn Heroin Poppy
BRIEF

Guatemala Eradicates $300 Mn Heroin Poppy

GUATEMALA / 25 MAY 2012 BY HANNAH STONE EN

Guatemala reported eradicating more than $300 million worth of heroin poppy crops this week in San Marcos province, which borders on Mexico, in an indication of the growing value of this crop to the country's traffickers.

Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez said that 2.4 billion quetzales ($308 million) of poppy was destroyed in the municipalities of Tajumulco and Ixchiguan, reports Prensa Libre.

The 800 agents involved in the operation, which took place between Monday and Wednesday, also eradicated more than Q80 million ($10 million) of marijuana plants.

The minister said that the government had destroyed drug crops worth more than $1.3 billion so far in 2012.

InSight Crime Analysis

The US State Department says that Guatemala is a minor, but growing, producer and exporter of opium poppy, estimating that it has more than 1,000 hectares under cultivation. It is now thought to be the second biggest poppy producer in the region, with Mexico in first place and Colombia in third.

Guatemala's eradication of the plant increased more than three-fold over the last few years, up from 489 hectares in 2005 to 1,490 in just the first nine months of 2011. As InSight Crime has pointed out, this rise in eradication is likely a sign that more poppy is being grown, not that the government is getting better at removing it.

San Marcos is the location of most of the country's poppy production, and was the stronghold of Juan Alberto Ortiz Lopez, alias "Juan Chamale," who was known as Guatemala's "heroin king" until his arrest in March last year. The poppy is usually shipped to Mexico for processing, using San Marcos' loosely guarded sea ports and land border crossings, before being sent to the United States.

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

ELITES AND CRIME / 20 OCT 2015

Guatemalan authorities arrested a mayor accused of stealing over $1 million in municipal funds, a case that is representative of…

GUATEMALA / 30 NOV 2015

The head of the United Nations' anti-impunity commission in Guatemala, Ivan Velasquez, said impunity will only fall when the government…

HEROIN / 18 NOV 2016

In addition to potentially scuttling his chances of securing a top job with the incoming administration of US President-elect Donald…

About InSight Crime

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.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…