HomeNewsBriefJailed Ex-Drug Czar Accuses Bolivia of Shielding Corrupt Officials
BRIEF

Jailed Ex-Drug Czar Accuses Bolivia of Shielding Corrupt Officials

BOLIVIA / 24 MAY 2012 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

A former Bolivian drug czar currently held in the United States on drug trafficking charges has accused the Morales government of protecting other high-ranking officials with ties to the illegal drug trade.

On May 21, Univision reported that former Bolivian drug official Rene Sanabria, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a US federal judge for conspiring to smuggle cocaine into Miami via a Chilean port, had sent them a letter detailing the alleged cover-up.

In the letter, the ex-official reportedly maintains that “the government is thwarting a comprehensive investigation into public officials involved in drug trafficking.”

The contents of the letter were not released to the public, but the news network reported that Sanabria provided specific evidence for his claims, including “the identification of public officials involved in crimes and drug-related corruption.” He also said that an official investigation into these charges was terminated by ex-Interior Minister Sacha Llorenti and Deputy Interior Minister Marcos Farfan.

InSight Crime Analysis

While the government of President Evo Morales has questioned the authenticity of the letter, current Interior Minister Carlos Romero called upon the imprisoned police official to turn over a list of authorities along with his specific accusations against them. "If the retired general Rene Sanabria knows of some people involved in these drug issues he should provide their names, and must indicate the evidence or signs that point to the involvement of those people.”

Meanwhile, Morales’ political enemies are seizing on the allegations. Opposition Senator Roger Pinto has called for the formation of a congressional commission, which would be tasked with traveling to the US and interviewing Sanabria in person.

The hotly politicized nature of the allegations mirrors a similar situation in Venezuela. There too, former officials accused of drug ties have alleged widespread government involvement in drug trafficking and organized crime, while the government has dismissed this as an unwarranted political attack.

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

BOLIVIA / 5 FEB 2021

The seizure of a cocaine-laced package, bound for Thailand, at an airport in Bolivia, shines light on the little-known drug…

ARGENTINA / 11 AUG 2021

Authorities in Argentina are seizing bumper crops of coca leaves coming over the country's northwest border with Bolivia, causing the…

BOLIVIA / 13 AUG 2021

The US Coast Guard unloaded 27 tons of cocaine after a three-month operation in the Pacific and Caribbean, a massive…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…