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Drug Traffickers Move To Central America In Response To Pressure In Colombia And Mexico

By Dialogo
May 18, 2010

Drug traffickers are seeking to set up laboratories in Central America and the Caribbean in response to pressure from the anti-drug authorities in Colombia and Mexico, according to an intelligence report published by the Bogotá press. The Colombian mafias are seeking to take coca paste out of the country “and process it in Central America in order to convert it into cocaine, ‘crack,’ or ‘angel dust,’ the best-selling drugs on the streets of New York, Amsterdam, Madrid, and Barcelona,” according to the digital edition of the daily El Tiempo. The report includes a declaration by the head of the Nicaraguan army, Gen. Julio Avilés, who said that he does not rule out that “with the pressure that is being put on the drug trade with Plan Colombia and Plan Mérida, in Mexico, (the criminals) may seek to set up laboratories in the Central American region.” On September 11 of last year, Nicaraguan authorities found a drug-processing laboratory in the municipality of Achuapa, believed to be “the first complex found in that country that has served as a distribution point for cocaine leaving Colombia and headed for the United States and Europe,” according to the publication. At least three Colombian criminal organizations have arranged to send “their people to the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Honduras, for the purpose of setting up and managing production complexes” for drugs, according to a Colombian police investigation to which El Tiempo said it had obtained access. Colombian drug traffickers for decades concentrated drug production in jungle regions in the south and west of the Andean country, but “the offensive by government forces in recent years has not left them room to complete the process in Colombia,” an anti-narcotics official told El Tiempo.