HomeNewsBriefLiquid Cocaine Operation Mark of Argentina's Evolving Underworld
BRIEF

Liquid Cocaine Operation Mark of Argentina's Evolving Underworld

ARGENTINA / 19 MAY 2014 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Authorities in Argentina have disbanded a group linked to the Sinaloa Cartel that trafficked liquid cocaine from Argentina to Mexico, providing further evidence the South American nation is increasingly a hub for sophisticated transnational drug traffickers. 

Security Secretary Sergio Berni said nine people had been arrested during the operation, and a large amount of weaponry was seized, reported El Diario de Juarez. A Mexican chemist and several Argentine police officials were among those arrested, according to BBC Mundo.

In early May it was reported that a 2,360 kilo cocaine shipment was seized by Mexican authorities in Yucatan state's port of Progreso, having originated in Buenos Aires. The drug cargo, worth $40 million, had been diluted in special industrial oil concealed in lighting transformers, allowing the shipment to pass undetected through customs scanners in both countries, reported Argentina's Ministry of Security.

Berni, who heads that ministry, stated the group "transported cocaine from Argentina, stopping over in Mexico City, to then presumably be distributed in Europe or the United States."

This is the second seizure of its kind to be made on Argentine territory this year after a 600 kilo shipment of liquid cocaine was found in a tanker truck travelling from Bolivia to Chile on February 16.

InSight Crime Analysis

The activities of this group in producing and exporting liquid cocaine -- which requires chemical expertise to both dilute and extract the drugs at each end of the journey -- is yet another illustration of the evolution of organized crime in Argentina.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Argentina

While it is unclear to what extent the Sinaloa Cartel was involved, there are signs Mexican cartels are taking an increasing interest in the country. The presence of a Mexican chemist suggests the group may have been providing technical assistance, not just buying the shipments. The fact it involved several corrupt officials also points to a professional operation.

The use of liquid cocaine appears to be increasingly popular among Latin American criminal groups, as it is more easily hidden from customs checks. In past cases, it has been absorbed in clothing or frozen, while a bust in Bolivia in January highlighted its use by drug mules, rather than traditional capsules of powder.

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

ARGENTINA / 16 JUN 2022

The leader of Argentina's Alvarado Clan is behind bars. But as the Monos have shown, running a criminal group from…

CARTEL DE SINALOA / 22 OCT 2020

The walls have now been patched up. There is nothing left on the streets but dust; customers are ready to…

BOLIVIA / 31 MAR 2022

A major antinarcotics operation at an aerodrome in Bolivia has drawn attention to the role of private air facilities in…

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…