HomeNewsBriefPoppy Production Latest Development in Honduras Drug Trade
BRIEF

Poppy Production Latest Development in Honduras Drug Trade

HEROIN / 19 MAR 2014 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Honduran authorities have reported the first ever discovery of an opium plantation in the country, a new milestone marking the country's ever-growing role in the international drug trade.

On January 31, Honduran officials reported that they had discovered and destroyed a high-tech greenhouse growing opium poppies and marijuana on a mountain in west Honduras, Inter Press Service reported

The greenhouse was found in the municipality of La Iguala, 400km from capital city Tegucigalpa and 1,600 meters above sea level. The location is only reachable by horseback or all-terrain vehicle, and becomes inaccessible during the rainy season.

The raid discovered 1,800 opium poppy plants and 800 cannabis plants. The structure itself was reportedly 100 meters long and 40 meters wide, air-conditioned, with a large generator, a modern irrigation system and other high-tech equipment.

Two people were arrested in the raid, a Honduran laborer and a Colombian who managed the farm and had been previously arrested and released, reported La Prensa.

Carlos Mejia, a deputy superintendent of the National Police who headed the operation, told IPS, "We suspect there are many more plantations in these enormous western mountains, so we are combing the entire region."

InSight Crime Analysis

The revelation that Honduras is now a location for high-tech opium production is just the latest sign of to the country's slide into the hands of powerful criminal elements. Since a 2009 coup, the presence of foreign organized crime has increased markedly and, according to the US State Department's latest estimate, 75 percent of cocaine leaving South America by plane transits through the Central American nation. 

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

Part of this criminal expansion has involved the growth of drug processing, with several cocaine labs discovered in Honduras since 2011, but the arrival of opium poppy cultivation is a major new development suggesting criminal operations are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are confident of being able to operate with impunity.

While foreign criminal organizations have played a large role in driving this evolution -- the cocaine processing plant discovered in 2011 allegedly belonged to Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel -- there are growing indications that homegrown organized crime groups are also building strength and moving up the drug trafficking value chain.

If local criminal groups do successfully increase their role in drug production, it raises the possibility that Honduras could soon generate its own transnational criminal operations and become major players in the international drug trade.  

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

COCAINE / 6 MAY 2022

The US has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of leaders of the Montes Bobadilla…

CACHIROS / 16 APR 2021

A string of bumper cocaine seizures on the Honduras Atlantic has provided a stark reminder of the region's importance in…

COVID AND CRIME / 30 NOV 2021

Leftist opposition candidate Xiomara Castro appears to have ridden a wave of outrage to become Honduras' next president, beating out…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…