HomeNewsBriefOver 90 Cocaine Labs Found In Eastern Bolivia
BRIEF

Over 90 Cocaine Labs Found In Eastern Bolivia

BOLIVIA / 1 JUN 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

Bolivian authorities dismantled 91 cocaine laboratories in the eastern department of Santa Cruz, a key hub for drug trafficking activity in Bolivia.

In the operation, which began on May 30 in the village of San German, members of Bolivia's anti-narcotics police unit (FELCN) discovered 91 laboratories hidden in some of the villagers' homes, reported EFE news agency.

Police arrested 20 people in San German and also destroyed a clandestine airstrip they say was used to send some 300 kilograms of cocaine every 20 days to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. According to the FELCN's director, Colonel Gonzalo Quezada, the police are searching for a Colombian man they believe oversaw trafficking operations in the area.

Some of the labs had the capacity to produce up to 100 kilograms of cocaine per day, reported El Diario.

InSight Crime Analysis

The fact that all the labs were located in Santa Cruz state is not surprising. The state has become a key operations base for drug traffickers, with some suggesting that as many as 3,000 Colombian traffickers may have a presence there. On top of this, there is evidence to suggest that Brazilian groups such as the Red Command (Comando Vermelho) and the First Capital Command (PCC) also have a hand in trafficking operations there.

The importance of Santa Cruz may be largely based on its location. The department borders Cochabamba, one of the largest producers of the coca leaf and Brazil, the highest consumer of cocaine in Latin America. A Brazilian Embassy official in Bolivia estimated in December that Brazil receives as much as 80 percent of the cocaine produced in Bolivia.

In recent years, drug lab technology in Bolivia has progressed substantially, moving from open air maceration pits to a more sophisticated process frequently seen in Colombia involving more precursor chemicals to process the coca leaf, making the extraction of the cocaine alkaloid more efficient. One such lab was destroyed in Santa Cruz in August last year in what police said was the biggest find of the year.

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 / 26 FEB 2021

While the seizure of 23 tons of cocaine by German, Belgian and Dutch police, the largest-ever haul of the drug…

BOLIVIA / 10 JUN 2015

Inmates standing trial for a 2013 prison riot in Bolivia that left dozens dead have said that they discussed the…

ARGENTINA / 28 JUL 2016

Authorities in Argentina seized a massive 80-ton shipment of precursor chemicals used to make cocaine just meters from the Bolivian…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…