Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador cooperate against synthetic drugs

Guatemala,  Belize,  Honduras and El Salvador cooperate against synthetic drugs

By Dialogo
October 29, 2014




The governments of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador are jointly stepping up their enforcement efforts against the chemical precursors used to manufacture synthetic drugs, such as crystal methamphetamine.

They’re sharing information about trafficking and production, as well as expertise on the safe disposal of such chemicals. And they’re working to integrate the efforts of their military and police forces so that they can better collaborate in the fight against synthetic drugs.

A center to dispose of precursor chemicals


For example, in early September law enforcement officials visited Guatemala’s drug enforcement center in the Department of Zacapa to see how they dispose of precursor chemicals.

“The program in Guatemala for destroying these chemicals leads the region and is world- class,” said Erick Somarriba, the Organization of American States (OAS) representative for Guatemala’s precursor chemical destruction program.

The center is huge, taking up 50,000 square meters. It has 15 chemists and three consultants who work to ensure that precursor chemicals are disposed of safely, without harming people or the environment. Adhering to OAS protocols, the chemists wear helmets, goggles, and gloves as they destroy the dangerous substances.

And they destroy a lot of dangerous substances. In April, for instance, they destroyed about 53 tons of precursor chemicals seized from drug trafficking groups.

The drug enforcement center primarily uses equipment that Guatemalan security forces seized from drug trafficking organizations. For example, large pots that organized crime operatives once used to make synthetic drugs are now employed at the center to destroy precursor chemicals.

“That which once was used to manufacture drugs, we now use to destroy drugs,” said Eunice Mendizábal, Guatemalan Vice Minister of Internal Affairs for Drug Matters.

Guatemalan officials made “the right move” in building the center, said Sandino Asturia, director of the Guatemalan Center for Studies (CEG). “We must not look at it as just a place to destroy drugs, but as a place that will benefit the public health.”

While cocaine and marijuana continue to dominate the illegal drug market in Latin America, the increase in production labs and seizures of large amounts of precursor chemicals in Central and South America suggest that the manufacture of synthetic drugs is a growing business, according to a report titled “Global Synthetic Drugs Assessment” issued by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

From 2007 to 2012, law enforcement agents seized 79 tons of precursor chemicals in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. The highest number of seizures was in El Salvador, followed by Guatemala, Argentina, Honduras and Panama.





The governments of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador are jointly stepping up their enforcement efforts against the chemical precursors used to manufacture synthetic drugs, such as crystal methamphetamine.

They’re sharing information about trafficking and production, as well as expertise on the safe disposal of such chemicals. And they’re working to integrate the efforts of their military and police forces so that they can better collaborate in the fight against synthetic drugs.

A center to dispose of precursor chemicals


For example, in early September law enforcement officials visited Guatemala’s drug enforcement center in the Department of Zacapa to see how they dispose of precursor chemicals.

“The program in Guatemala for destroying these chemicals leads the region and is world- class,” said Erick Somarriba, the Organization of American States (OAS) representative for Guatemala’s precursor chemical destruction program.

The center is huge, taking up 50,000 square meters. It has 15 chemists and three consultants who work to ensure that precursor chemicals are disposed of safely, without harming people or the environment. Adhering to OAS protocols, the chemists wear helmets, goggles, and gloves as they destroy the dangerous substances.

And they destroy a lot of dangerous substances. In April, for instance, they destroyed about 53 tons of precursor chemicals seized from drug trafficking groups.

The drug enforcement center primarily uses equipment that Guatemalan security forces seized from drug trafficking organizations. For example, large pots that organized crime operatives once used to make synthetic drugs are now employed at the center to destroy precursor chemicals.

“That which once was used to manufacture drugs, we now use to destroy drugs,” said Eunice Mendizábal, Guatemalan Vice Minister of Internal Affairs for Drug Matters.

Guatemalan officials made “the right move” in building the center, said Sandino Asturia, director of the Guatemalan Center for Studies (CEG). “We must not look at it as just a place to destroy drugs, but as a place that will benefit the public health.”

While cocaine and marijuana continue to dominate the illegal drug market in Latin America, the increase in production labs and seizures of large amounts of precursor chemicals in Central and South America suggest that the manufacture of synthetic drugs is a growing business, according to a report titled “Global Synthetic Drugs Assessment” issued by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

From 2007 to 2012, law enforcement agents seized 79 tons of precursor chemicals in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. The highest number of seizures was in El Salvador, followed by Guatemala, Argentina, Honduras and Panama.


Very good news It's good Positive and advantageous actions to which we all should commit in Central America and the Caribbean, keep it up.
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