Chile’s Investigations Police (PDI, in Spanish) seized more than 3 tons of drugs during Operation New Era (Operación Nueva Era) in the Santiago Metropolitan region, Sergio Muñoz, PDI general director, and Rodrigo Delgado, Chilean minister of the Interior, said at a press conference on June 22. With this seizure, the PDI has seized 27 tons of drugs so far in 2021, exceeding the 24 tons seized during all of 2020, Delgado said.
During the operation led by the PDI’s Southern Metropolitan Antinarcotics Brigade, police agents seized 3 tons of creepy marijuana and 38 kilograms of cocaine, and captured two individuals — one Chilean and one Bolivian national — who were involved in transporting the drugs, authorities said.
According to statements from the PDI director at the press conference, the drugs came from Bolivia hidden in pallets in trucks, and entered through the Antofagasta region — in the north of the country — en route to the Metropolitan region, where they were distributed to different criminal gangs.
“Operation New Era is part of a strategy by our police to tackle neighborhood problems involving narcotrafficking and related crimes, such as associated violence, weapons, and killings, and that is the operation’s most relevant value,” Muñoz told Diálogo.
According to InSight Crime, an organization that analyzes threats in Latin America, creepy marijuana seizures have skyrocketed in recent years, and narcotrafficking has become increasingly prominent, diversified, and violent.
“This year, [authorities] have dismantled more than seven criminal gangs that engage in these activities. There are more than 50 detainees and more than 40 weapons recovered as a result of the violence carried out in the territory,” the PDI director said, according to the Chilean news portal 24 Horas.
The PDI has also implemented Plan Cannabis, a national plan to capture and dismantle marijuana processing gangs that operate in the area where the drug is produced, in the center of the country between the cities of La Serena and Concepción, the PDI said in a statement. From January to May 2021, the PDI destroyed 15 tons of processed marijuana and marijuana plantations, a 200 percent increase compared to the previous year, the PDI reported.