HomeNewsBriefStolen US Planes Used for Drug Trafficking in Bolivia: Official
BRIEF

Stolen US Planes Used for Drug Trafficking in Bolivia: Official

BOLIVIA / 8 DEC 2014 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

A top security official in Bolivia has indicated stolen US planes are used to traffic drugs in the eastern border region, however this revelation — if true – has little relevance on the country’s status as an emerging drug hub.

“There are planes in Miami that are practically stolen, they arrive in Central America, and via Colombia they arrive in Beni,” Bolivia’s Vice-Minister for Social Defense Felipe Caceres said on December 7.

The remarks were in response to questions about video footage that reportedly shows between five to 10 drug-smuggling aircraft enter Bolivia every day, reported Erbol. Caceres denied these claims, and requested any such video be handed over to the country’s Special Counter Narcotics Police Force (FELCN).

Meanwhile, authorities recently captured a plane carrying 300 kilos of coca base in Ichilo, a province in Bolivia’s eastern Santa Cruz department, reported El Dia. Ichilo is headquarters to several sophisticated drug trafficking groups, and is a principal producer of coca base in the country.

InSight Crime Analysis

Whether Caceres’ remarks on stolen US planes facilitating aerial drug trafficking in the region are true or not, shifting blame to the United States is unlikely to stop the heavy flow of drugs crossing Bolivia’s borders. Chilly US-Bolivian relations have led to public spats in the past, and the United States singled out the Andean nation in September as having “failed demonstrably” in drug interdiction efforts over the past year.

The sub-director of FELCN Colonel Marcos Encinas has previously told InSight Crime he believes as much as 30 tons of marijuana and cocaine are trafficked through the country every month. The vast majority of the cocaine is trafficked via air from Peru, the biggest cocaine producer in the world, before transited to the region’s largest consumer market, Brazil. The emergence of this cocaine air bridge is likely due to Bolivia’s lack of a radar system and other aerial interdiction technologies, rather than the presence of US planes in the region.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Criminal Migration

Caceres’ statements also highlight the growing organized crime influence in Bolivia’s eastern border department of Beni. The infiltration of Colombian and Brazilian transnational drug trafficking groups into the department has converted Beni into perhaps the most important drug trafficking region in a country fast becoming a hub for both drug smuggling and production operations.

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.

Related Content

BOLIVIA / 10 JAN 2012

Bolivian coca farmers have expelled a group of soldiers working on the eradication of the crop north of the capital…

BOLIVIA / 26 FEB 2013

Bolivian officials said that a five-year project funded by the European Union helped reduce coca cultivation by 12 percent in…

COLOMBIA / 18 MAR 2014

The massacre of five men from Colombia just across the border in Venezuela's Tachira state has drawn attention to the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …