HomeNewsBriefCocaine Lab Hints of Shifting Criminal Dynamics in Argentina
BRIEF

Cocaine Lab Hints of Shifting Criminal Dynamics in Argentina

ARGENTINA / 12 NOV 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

A cocaine processing laboratory has been discovered in Argentina's Patagonia region, an illustration of the increasing spread of the drug trade in the country and the shifting dynamics of that country's underworld.

Police in the city Comodoro Rivadavia discovered the "cocaine kitchen" during a raid of various houses and nightclubs, which followed a three-month investigation, reported La Nacion. Precursor chemicals and equipment for purifying coca paste -- a substance made from coca leaves in a first-step rudimentary process that typically takes place alongside the crops -- were found. Six people were arrested. According to state news agency Telam, the drugs had come from Bolivia and were destined to be sold mostly to oil workers.

It is the first time such cocaine processing has been detected in Patagonia, a region shared by Argentina and Chile, which takes in various Argentine provinces in the south of the country. Around 40 kilos of cocaine and $16,000 were seized, along with some luxury vehicles, reported Diario Cronica.

InSight Crime Analysis

While this does not appear to be a large-scale laboratory, the fact it was converting coca paste into cocaine indicated a level of sophisticated knowledge and equipment. The location is also noteworthy -- in the south of the country, far from Buenos Aires and Rosario, a northern city which is known to be a hub of Argentina's drug trade

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Argentina

The discovery suggests that cocaine production, as well as distribution, is spreading across Argentina. Laboratories have been discovered in Buenos Aires province and Rosario is Latin America's second-largest market for cocaine, accounting for 25 per cent of the region's cocaine use.

What is not clear is who is controlling the trade, and why it has become more economic (and perhaps safer) for that group to push cocaine processing into Argentina. The country has long been a base and safe haven for Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers, but there are signs homegrown criminals are taking a more prominent role. Last month, a major Argentina drug trafficker was caught by authorities while in September an Argentine family was accused of running the country's biggest ever drug lab.

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

ARGENTINA / 14 MAR 2012

Authorities dismantled a smugglers' ring that trafficked hundreds of kilos of cocaine from Argentina to Europe, pointing to the continent's…

ARGENTINA / 1 OCT 2019

A criminal ring that sent synthetic drugs by mail from Argentina to Chile has been taken down in a joint…

ARGENTINA / 7 DEC 2020

Officials in Argentina have been discussing how DNA testing may be used to curb cattle rustling and rural crime in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

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…