Bolivia’s Navy Expected to Combat Narcotrafficking on Lake Titicaca

By Dialogo
March 09, 2015



In March, Bolivia’s Navy is expected to launch a special unit to assist Bolivia’s Special Anti-Drug Force (FELCN) in combating narcotrafficking on Lake Titicaca, Vice Admiral Waldo Calla, the commander of the Navy, said recently.

“We have detected a lot of activity, not just drug trafficking, but also smuggling on Lake Titicaca, so the Bolivian Navy is establishing a specific unit that will be under the jurisdiction of the Fourth Naval District."

Citing security reasons, Vice Adm. Calla didn’t reveal where or precisely when the unit would be deployed, but said the unit would be mobile so it could surprise narcotraffickers.

The announcement occurred just weeks after Bolivia and Peru started working jointly against narcotrafficking and other criminal activities along their shared border. The countries are using a satellite system to detect narcotic shipments on Lake Titicaca, which straddles both nations, around the clock. The nations’ Navies, Air Forces, and counter-narcotics police forces work together to interdict and search suspicious vessels.

The Andean nations are continuing to work together on land to combat narcotrafficking and the cultivation of coca - the main ingredient used to produce cocaine. Each country’s Military and police forces are concentrating their eradication of coca crop efforts in Bolivian border communities such as Apolo and San Fermín, and in Peru’s Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers Valley (VRAEM) region.

Drug traffickers transport about half of the 450 tons of cocaine produced in Peru annually to Bolivia by plane before routing the drugs to Central America, North America, Brazil, Mexico, Europe, and Asia.

However, in recent months Peruvian security forces have made it more difficult for drug trafficking groups to use narco-planes by destroying least 60 clandestine landing strips used by the traffickers, including many in the VRAEM.

In 2012, criminal organizations cultivated more than 60,000 hectares of coca crops in Peru, which is home to 13-coca growing regions. The vast majority of the coca produced in the country – 93 percent – is used to produce illegal drugs with the remaining plants used for traditional consumption and industrial use, according to Peru’s National Commission for a Drug-Free Life (DEVIDA).

Bolivia has also made progress in the fight against narcotrafficking and drug cultivation.

Since 2010, Bolivia has reduced the number of hectares used to cultivate illegal coca from 34,500 hectares to 23,200 hectares since 2010, according to a press release from the Vice Ministry of Social Defense on November 18, 2014.


In March, Bolivia’s Navy is expected to launch a special unit to assist Bolivia’s Special Anti-Drug Force (FELCN) in combating narcotrafficking on Lake Titicaca, Vice Admiral Waldo Calla, the commander of the Navy, said recently.

“We have detected a lot of activity, not just drug trafficking, but also smuggling on Lake Titicaca, so the Bolivian Navy is establishing a specific unit that will be under the jurisdiction of the Fourth Naval District."

Citing security reasons, Vice Adm. Calla didn’t reveal where or precisely when the unit would be deployed, but said the unit would be mobile so it could surprise narcotraffickers.

The announcement occurred just weeks after Bolivia and Peru started working jointly against narcotrafficking and other criminal activities along their shared border. The countries are using a satellite system to detect narcotic shipments on Lake Titicaca, which straddles both nations, around the clock. The nations’ Navies, Air Forces, and counter-narcotics police forces work together to interdict and search suspicious vessels.

The Andean nations are continuing to work together on land to combat narcotrafficking and the cultivation of coca - the main ingredient used to produce cocaine. Each country’s Military and police forces are concentrating their eradication of coca crop efforts in Bolivian border communities such as Apolo and San Fermín, and in Peru’s Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers Valley (VRAEM) region.

Drug traffickers transport about half of the 450 tons of cocaine produced in Peru annually to Bolivia by plane before routing the drugs to Central America, North America, Brazil, Mexico, Europe, and Asia.

However, in recent months Peruvian security forces have made it more difficult for drug trafficking groups to use narco-planes by destroying least 60 clandestine landing strips used by the traffickers, including many in the VRAEM.

In 2012, criminal organizations cultivated more than 60,000 hectares of coca crops in Peru, which is home to 13-coca growing regions. The vast majority of the coca produced in the country – 93 percent – is used to produce illegal drugs with the remaining plants used for traditional consumption and industrial use, according to Peru’s National Commission for a Drug-Free Life (DEVIDA).

Bolivia has also made progress in the fight against narcotrafficking and drug cultivation.

Since 2010, Bolivia has reduced the number of hectares used to cultivate illegal coca from 34,500 hectares to 23,200 hectares since 2010, according to a press release from the Vice Ministry of Social Defense on November 18, 2014.
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