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 / 27 MAR 2012

A group of 30 gunmen ambushed a Honduran military convoy, wounding five soldiers, in the northern province of Colon.

CACHIROS / 18 OCT 2019

A jury in a US court has found the brother of the president of Honduras guilty on drug trafficking charges,…

HONDURAS / 4 MAY 2012

Two Honduran former police officers have been gunned down in Tegucigalpa, in a crime variously attributed to gang disputes or…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.