Honduran security forces dealt a harsh blow to narcotrafficking in the first half of 2021, seizing more than 11,000 kilograms of cocaine and destroying hundreds of thousands of coca plants.
From January 1 to July 1, the operations carried out in Honduran territory resulted in the seizure of three times more cocaine than in 2020, the Honduran newspaper Proceso Digital reported.
“This shows that there has been exceptional work in this field [in the fight against narcotrafficking], creating a synergy with the agencies in the country,” General Fredy Santiago Díaz Zelaya, Honduran secretary of National Defense, said about the statistics during the LXI Conference of Chiefs of the American Air Forces (CONJEFAMER, in Spanish), held in Tegucigalpa in mid-June.
“This sharp decrease in drug transit through Honduras is due to land, air, and maritime shields, as well as other actions implemented by President Hernández’s government, with the support of partner countries such as the United States, Mexico, and Colombia, among others,” the Honduran Presidency said in a statement.
Authorities have also cut and incinerated 244,304 coca leaf plants or bushes, mostly in the departments of Colón, Yoro, and Gracias a Dios, Army First Lieutenant José Antonio Coello, Communications officer for the Honduran Armed Forces, told Proceso Digital. In a previous interview with Diálogo, Lt. Coello said that authorities had destroyed 424,900 coca bushes in 2020.
In its 2021 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, the U.S. Department of State indicates that coca crops have been present in Honduran territory for nearly a decade, adding that Honduran authorities have become more and more active in their eradication.
So far this year, Honduran authorities have dismantled eight drug labs — just four fewer than in all of 2020, said the Honduran officer — disabled 11 airstrips, and seized six light aircraft used for drug transport, according to data from the Honduran National Interinstitutional Security Force (FUSINA, in Spanish).