HomeNewsBriefUS State Dept Report Shows Central America Still Main Cocaine Corridor
BRIEF

US State Dept Report Shows Central America Still Main Cocaine Corridor

CARIBBEAN / 4 MAR 2014 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

Statistics from the US State Department's annual drug control report challenge repeated warnings of a drug trafficking shift from Central America to the Caribbean, with seizure rates suggesting Central America is still the most common route.

The State Department's 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) estimates that approximately 86 percent of the cocaine trafficked to the United States in the first half of 2013 first moved through the Mexico/Central America corridor, up from 80 percent in 2012.

Guatemalan authorities' reported total drug seizures during the first nine months of 2013 amounted to a 330 percent increase over 2012. El Salvador seized 664 kg of cocaine through the first 10 months of 2013, or double what was seized in the same period in 2012. Costa Rica seized 19.67 tons of cocaine in 2013, an increase from 14.73 tons in 2012. Panama also saw a 20.6 percent increase in cocaine seizures, from 34 tons in 2012 to 41 tons in 2013.

Several other Central American countries, however, saw decreases in seizures. Honduras -- where it was estimated in 2012 that 75 percent of all cocaine smuggling flights departing South America first landed -- seized 1.7 tons of cocaine in 2013, compared to 2.25 tons seized in one operation lasting from mid-April to early July in 2012 alone. Nicaragua also saw seizures plummet, from 9.3 tons in 2012 to three tons as of September 2013.

In the Caribbean, cocaine seizures did increase significantly in the Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean, and Dutch Caribbean, while remaining stable in the Dominican Republic. However, the quantities seized remain far below those seen in Central America.

InSight Crime Analysis

Drug interdiction figures alone are not a reliable barometer for tracking drug routes, as there are numerous other factors that affect seizure rates, such as changes in anti-narcotics budgets, interdiction equipment used, cooperation with international partners, and even the ebb and flow of corrupt contacts. Nevertheless, when viewed as a region, the State Department's figures offer strong evidence that drug traffickers continue to prefer the Central America/Mexico route.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of the Caribbean

For nearly two years, the United States has been warning of a shift to Caribbean routes as drug traffickers seek to avoid the attentions of security forces in Central America and Mexico -- reversing the pattern first seen in the 1980s when traffickers abandoned Caribbean routes in favor of Mexico and later Central America. Yet while there have been indications to suggest a rise in Caribbean trafficking in that time, as this latest reports highlights, there are few signs of a large scale abandonment of Central America. In fact, if the State Departments 86 percent estimate is accurate, trafficking through the region may even be increasing.

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

CARIBBEAN / 8 AUG 2016

The Caribbean's geographic location and countless islands make it a huge transshipment route for drugs heading to the United States,…

CARIBBEAN / 13 JAN 2015

The head of the Dominican Republic's anti-narcotics police has been charged with stealing over a ton of cocaine, leading to…

CARIBBEAN / 14 FEB 2013

Cuban authorities reported seizing over three tons of drugs last year, representing a return to the average amount of drugs…

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…