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 / 29 MAY 2017

A new report by an advocacy group based in Bolivia details how the Andean nation's failed experiences with forced coca…

BOLIVIA / 29 JUL 2019

Officials within the agency entrusted with protecting Bolivia's forests falsified data and provided documents legitimizing the illegal harvesting of timber,…

BOLIVIA / 22 JUN 2016

One of Latin America's most impoverished nations, Bolivia is the world's third largest producer of coca after Colombia and Peru,…

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…