The problem blends with the transit of migrants who cross the region in search of the American drea...
LA PAZ, Bolivia – The Special Antinarcotics Force of Bolivia reported that they seized 27,4 tonnes of drugs between January and November, 2008 – almost 10 tonnes more than in 2007, reported Bolivian newspaper El Deber.
The report added that former Vice Minister of Social Defence, Ernesto Justiniano, assures that Bolivia’s drug production has increased by 56 percent over the past three years.
Justiniano said that only 15 percent of all cocaine production is confiscated, resulting in 85 percent of Bolivia’s drug production remaining undetected.
Agents from the Argentine National Gendarmerie seized a light Bolivian aircraft on 6 December, reported Bolivian news agency Erbol. The plane was attempting to unload approximately 297 kilos of uncut cocaine in the Argentinean province of Santiago del Estero.
According to sources from the country’s Department of Civil Aviation, there are at least 1,000 clandestine air strips in Bolivia owned by drug traffickers. These are mainly located in the coca-producing departments of Santa Cruz, Beni and Pando, according to reports by La Paz newspaper La Razón.
President Evo Morales indefinitely suspended US DEA operations in the country in early November. On 2 November, National Director of the Special Antinarcotics Force (FELCN), Col. René Sanabria, acknowledged for the first time that international drug trafficking groups operate in Bolivia, according to reports by Bolivian newspaper La Razón.
Border areas unprotected
Sanabria said, “The presence of representatives belonging to international criminal organisations has been detected. They come to Bolivia to make contact with local drug traffickers, and organise new methods and routes to circumvent patrol and seizure mechanisms.”
The Bolivian AASANA, which controls 38 terminals around the country, acknowledged on 9 December that many border areas are unmonitored, and can be used as clandestine air strips.