HomeNewsBriefWhy Have Bolivia's Cocaine Seizures Fallen 50% in 2013?
BRIEF

Why Have Bolivia's Cocaine Seizures Fallen 50% in 2013?

BOLIVIA / 29 NOV 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Bolivia has seized 18.8 tons of cocaine and cocaine paste this year, a drop of nearly 50 percent from 2012's total that reverses a five-year upward trend, raising the question: what could have caused such a sharp decline?

The Vice Ministry of Social Defense reported that Bolivian authorities seized 17.4 tons of cocaine paste and 1.4 tons of cocaine between January 1 and November 15 this year, reported AFP. In 2012, a total of 36 tons of cocaine product were seized, meaning that with a month left in the year, seizures are down nearly 48 percent.

The country has also eradicated 10,591 hectares of coca in 2013, compared with a total of 11,043 hectares in 2012.

InSight Crime Analysis

The 2013 figures reverse a trend of rising seizures since 2008 -- the year the Bolivian government expelled the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from the country. Since then, the US government has claimed Bolivia is not meeting its anti-drug obligations.

There have been two major changes in the world of Bolivian anti-narcotics operations this year that may have impacted seizure numbers. The first, is the replacement of the generally effective chief of Bolivia's anti-narcotics police (FELCN), Colonel Gonzalo Quezada, and the second, is the closure of the US anti-drug office in Bolivia, bringing to an end US logistical support.

Halfway through 2013, anti-narcotics officials claimed that declining seizures -- with under 10 tons of cocaine and cocaine paste seized -- showed that increased anti-drug operations had successfully lowered the amount of cocaine entering or produced in the country. However, a recent report that up to four drug flights enter Bolivia each day with Peruvian cocaine, and a statement by Interior Minister Carlos Romero that the country lacks the technology to combat this flow, make this hypothesis questionable.

The fact that the majority of the drug seized was cocaine paste indicates that it was likely destined for the Brazilian and Argentine domestic markets -- common destinations for Peruvian product trafficked through Bolivia -- where this cheap, unrefined form of cocaine is widely consumed under the names of "paco" and "merla." 

With the expansion of the use of Bolivia as a stop off point for Peruvian cocaine, it is unclear how much of this paste, or the powder cocaine seized was produced in the country and how much was imported.

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

BOLIVIA / 11 NOV 2020

The newly sworn-in president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, will face a number of pressing security challenges as he works to…

BOLIVIA / 23 SEP 2022

As world leaders met for the United Nations General Assembly, Latin American presidents expressed various concerns about organized crime.

BOLIVIA / 26 JAN 2022

Authorities in Bolivia have arrested the Andean nation’s former anti-drug chief as he tried to flee the country, but how…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…