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

HONDURAS / 31 AUG 2012

Honduras announced it had found a cocaine processing laboratory on the country's north Caribbean coast, the second such discovery in…

HONDURAS / 23 NOV 2016

The alleged head of one of the most powerful drug trafficking groups in Honduras has been captured in Costa Rica…

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 MAY 2018

The US arrest of a man with family ties to one of Honduras’ largest government institutions is a clear sign…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…