Bolivia Scores Great Success Against Illicit Drug Trafficking in the Last 7 Months
By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo August 10, 2020
The Bolivian Special Force to Fight Drug Trafficking (FELCN, in Spanish) seized, eradicated, and destroyed more than 374 metric tons of drugs in the last seven months.
From November 13, 2019, to June 22, 2020, agents carried out operations that resulted in the seizure of 8,043 kilograms of cocaine and 366,047 kg of marijuana. Bolivian Minister of the Interior Arturo Murillo announced these results during an event for International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, on June 26, at the Government Palace in La Paz.
“The UIF [Financial Investigation Unit] report that between $1.5 to $2 billion from narcotrafficking circulate annually in Bolivia is not unrealistic,” Murillo told the press.
According to the official, Bolivia moved in recent years from being only a drug producer to also being a consumer nation. “What is worse is that we are becoming a corridor for illicit drugs and substances,” he said.
As a result, the minister said, some areas in Bolivian territory are now controlled by narcotraffickers.
“We have conducted massive efforts in the last seven months, seizing assets, disrupting their wealth, and dismantling family gangs,” Murillo said. FELCN agents have destroyed hundreds of drug labs, to include19 crystallization labs, and 22 recycling sites, and have detained 1,583 people. Authorities have conducted coca eradication efforts, including in parks and protected areas.
For his part, Bolivian Vice Minister of Social Defense and Controlled Substances Jaime Zamora reported that drug production labs in the country sell drugs to cartels.
“There are irregular groups that protect narcotrafficking with weapons and equipment,” Zamora said following the event. “Narcotrafficking has increased and taken root in the country.”