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Bolivia: Agents Destroy Mega Lab that Produced 100 Kg of Cocaine a Day

Bolivia: Agents Destroy Mega Lab that Produced 100 Kg of Cocaine a Day

By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo
April 16, 2021

On March 13, 2021, agents of Bolivia’s Special Force to Fight Drug Trafficking (FELCN, in Spanish) destroyed a cocaine mega lab in the Cabo Juan Wildlife Reserve, Tarija department, on the border with Paraguay.

“It is believed that the lab had the capacity to crystalize 100 kilograms of cocaine per day,” Bolivian Vice Minister of Social Defense and Controlled Substances Jaime Mamani said at a press conference.

The lab had an ether distiller, refrigeration, chemical tanks, and equipment to dilute, filter, dry, press, and pack the drug.

The mega lab that the FELCN destroyed on March 13, 2021, had areas to dry (pictured), press, and pack the drug, among others. (Photo: Bolivian Special Force to Fight Drug Trafficking)

On site, agents found 2,900 liters of liquid chemical precursors and more than 2 tons of solid chemical precursors, as well as firearms of different calibers, the newspaper Los Tiempos reported.

The site had bedrooms, a dining room, and a gym, as well as a 1.5-kilometer clandestine airstrip. It also had communication equipment to alert about the presence of antinarcotics police.

“[That] situation allowed us to identify an international organization of Colombian, Paraguayan, and Bolivian narcotraffickers,” the FELCN said in a statement.

The traffickers used three different types of labels, with the logos AAA, NASA, and CNGE, to identify the origin and destination of the shipments, the Bolivian newspaper El País reported.

According to Mamani, the lab is valued at about $200,000.

More than 1 ton of drugs

In less than a week, the FELCN seized more than 1 ton of cocaine and marijuana in different operations.

During Operation Mineral on March 9, agents intercepted a truck with about 283 kg of marijuana and 5 kg of cocaine in Oruro department.

That same day, during Operation Villa Imperial, in Potosí, agents identified a second truck carrying 239 kg of cocaine hydrochloride, 223 kg of base paste, and almost 19 kg of creepy marijuana, a variety that is rich in THC.

“In both operations, [agents] seized a total of 769 kg of drugs,” Colonel Edwin Pérez, the FELCN’s general director, said in a press release.

On March 5, antinarcotics police seized another 297 kg of cocaine in Santa Cruz department. “Five people were apprehended,” the FELCN reported.