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.

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 / 31 MAR 2022

A major antinarcotics operation at an aerodrome in Bolivia has drawn attention to the role of private air facilities in…

BOLIVIA / 8 NOV 2022

Environmental crime is driving deforestation across the Amazon, where some parts are now emitting more carbon dioxide than they absorb.

BOLIVIA / 22 JUL 2021

A recent clash between soldiers and smugglers has pointed to how Bolivia’s trade in contraband has reached a flashpoint.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…