Bolivian authorities have confiscated approximately 8 tons of cocaine chlorhydrate in a single operation that took place between Santa Cruz and Yacuiba, on the Argentinean border. The value of the drugs has been estimated to US$ 640 million. By volume, this is the largest seizure of cocaine in a single operation carried out in Bolivia.
The drugs were transported on four trucks, which carried 80 tons of other mineral substances used in drilling. According to officers ot the Special Antinarcotics Force (FELCN), the shipment had a city in Ivory Coast as final destination. It is for this reason that the cargo appeared suspicious, as the bulk of the country’s oil wells is offshore. One Bolivian national, reportedly in possession of a permit for mineral materials export, has been arrested.
This case is representative of the increasing transnational nature of organised crime and the strenghtening of connections between Latin American and West African criminal groups who manage the transport of Europe-bound cocaine. Namely, Santa Cruz department has become a “necessary stopping point” for the Bolivian drug trade, as it represents a corridor into neighboring Brazil and Paraguay, which is used by Peruvian cocaine manufacturers to export their product to West Africa and Europe.