During its mission to Bolivia, CORMS attended, on 23 July, the presentation of the main findings from the UNODC’s work in supporting the process of destruction/incineration of illicit drugs seized in Bolivia in the first semester of 2018.
The Representative of the UNODC in Bolivia, Mr. Thierry Rostan, who gave the presentation, recognised the work done by the Anti-Narcotics Special Task Force (FELCN from the Spanish Fuerza Especial de Lucha contra el Narcotráfico) and the Public Prosecutor Office.
Under the framework of the Programa de Apoyo a la Implementacion del Plan de Accion de la Estrategia Nacional de Lucha contra el Narcotráfico y Reducción de Cultivos Excedentarios de Coca de Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia (Assistance Programme to the Implementation of the Action Plan for the Strategy for the Fight against Drug Trafficking and Reduction of Surplus Coca Cultivation), financed by the European Union and Denmark, the UNODC confirmed the destruction of illicit drugs in Bolivia . The UNODC’s job is to verify that the operations were conducted transparently and in compliance with the current legislation.
During the first semester of 2018, the FELCN and the Public Prosecutor Office seized 7,070 kg of cocaine base, 3,274 kg of cocaine hydrochloride and 5,019 kg of cannabis. Moreover, the two institutions participated in 287 destruction operations, 8% more compared to the 266 actions in the first semester in 2017. The UNODC participated in 97 of the 287 operations, equivalent to 34% of the total number of the operations undertaken by FELCN and the Public Prosecutor Office. The UNODC took part in the destruction of 64% of the cocaine base (4,544 kg), 72% of the cocaine hydrochloride (2,345 kg) and 74% of the cannabis (3,715 kg).
For the first time, the UNODC also took part in the dismantling of a laboratory for crystallisation of cocaine base and in an operation of eradication, quantification and destruction of cannabis crops. In the latter operation, 47 tons of cannabis plants were destroyed.
The UNODC in Bolivia participates as an observer in the destruction of drugs seized on the national territory, verifying the procedure from the moment the illicit drugs leave the evidence storage room to their destruction. This strengthens the national and international reliability of the institutions in charge of drug destruction.
The UNODC confirmed that previous recommendations made by past administrations, such as the partial renovation of the car fleet of the FELCN, have been implemented. Last January, in fact, with an investment of 12.6 million bolivianos with support from the European Union (EU), the Government delivered FELCN 30 4×4 vehicles to strengthen the operational capacity of the fight against trafficking in controlled substances and precursors.
Some of the other suggested recommendations include enhancing the application of field tests before destroying or incinerating illicit drugs; managing the identification of real estate assets that can be transferred to the FELCN and running better investigations on foreign groups operating in border cities. According to the Bolivian authorities, foreign citizens are already involved in the crystallisation of cocaine base in Bolivia .