Latin America’s New Drug Routes| 13 December, 2019
Here’s a free drug guide to the new ways of drug transportation routes in Latin America. Drugs are transported to Central America by sea and air from Colombia and Peru – either directly or via Venezuela and Ecuador. Transportation by land is not possible. The way to daredevils is blocked by impenetrable swamps of the Panamanian province of Darien.
Sea transportation is carried out with the help of high-speed boats that help to avoid the pursuit of the coast guard of the countries of Central America that often have outdated patrol vessels. Each boat can load up to 600 kilograms of potion on average. Small fishing vessels are also used and in this case, drugs are placed in “torpedo” containers that are towed underwater on ropes. If there is a threat of detention, the cargo is quickly unhooked.
The old method of transportation is by ocean container ships. The fact is that only a very small part of the containers is checked since it is physically impossible to inspect all the containers. We can also mention a high degree of corruption among the customs personnel.
Cocaine and its transportation
Cocaine is transported through the air by small, low-power aircraft called airplanes. A mall size limits the volume of transported goods. However, in Guatemala, there’s only one radar station operates throughout the country. It is located in the capital’s airport and covers the airspace of only a third of the national territory and no free drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
In addition, it’s easy to equip runways for such aircraft. As a rule, these are compacted sections of soil located in a selva or on the territory of large land estates – the property of drug dealers. In Guatemala, there are up to 800 such runways. Aviation is a favorite means of transporting cocaine from the territory of Venezuela to the countries of Central America. Departures are made from the provinces of Lara, Falcon, Trujillo, Zulia, Merida, Tachira and Apure.
Such a scope of activity of drug lords in Venezuela is not accidental. In this country, the drug business is in the hands of the Los Soles cartel that consists of officers of the Venezuelan army and is run by Diosdado Cabello, one of the main figures in the country’s ruling regime. What makes the situation worse is the absence of free help for alcoholics or even a free drug rehab for local residents.
Poppy and its transportation
In 2014-2015, Mexico entered the top three world producers of the poppy. In 2005, the cultivated area reached 3.3 thousand hectares, in 2014 – 17 thousand, and in 2017 – more than 28 thousand hectares. Poppy planting is concentrated in the states of Guerrero, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, and Durango.
Today, up to 95 percent of the heroin consumed in the United States is produced in Latin America, primarily in Mexico. Experts note that Mexican heroin is of high quality, and the proximity of production to the consumer allows us to lower the retail price and dominate the market.
Guerrero accounts for up to 40 percent of all areas occupied by poppy seeds. This state is one of the poorest, and participation in drug trafficking for many rural residents is the only way to make money. The opium poppy is grown here on communal lands so that in the case of a visit by law enforcement authorities it was impossible to determine who exactly owned the “criminal” location.
Peasants cultivate plants and receive primary raw materials. Opium goes to the production of drugs. The growth of demand guarantees a stable income for peasant farmers who live in poverty. For a kilogram of opium, buyers pay peasants almost $ 900 and it’s a lot of money for a Mexican village because legal crops give much less income. You can get up to eight kilograms of opium from one hectare. This is enough to make one kilogram of heroin.
Raw materials purchased from peasants are transported to collection points, and then to the laboratory. Raw materials also come from Guatemala, where the vast areas of the San Marcos department (bordering Mexico) are occupied under opium poppy. In this business, drug cartels make substantial profits. In Mexico, one kilogram of heroin costs $35,000. In the United States, this figure reaches $71,000. There are signs that the bigwigs of the Mexican drug business are seriously exploring the possibilities of building a transcontinental heroin partnership as they were seen in Afghanistan as emissaries.
Other products and their transportation
But in the past year or two, the heroin boom started to fade. Some of the consumers started to look for free drug addiction treatment. While other consumers decided to switch to a synthetic alternative to natural drugs. The business of producing “synthetics” is put on an industrial basis.
Mexico occupies an important place in the global turnover of such “product”. The main consumers are the USA, the countries of Europe and Asia. It is characteristic that in Asian countries, domestic production is well established, but demand there is much higher than supply, local capacities do not cope with orders, and Mexican “contractors” always remain in demand.
The necessary precursors (substances for the manufacture of drugs) are shipped from China, India, and Thailand to the ports of Mexico. For example, Lazaro Cardenas and Manzanillo. There are special laboratories at the ports, the products of which are sent back to Asia.
In 2012-2013, drugs imported from Mexico were seized in South Korea and Japan. In the Philippines, they liquidated a laboratory run by the Chinese partners of Mexican drug dealers. In Mexico itself, under the pressure of the authorities, drug traffickers are transferring laboratories to Guatemala and Honduras, whose share in the production of “synthetics” is increasing.
Recently, cartels have been tried and fentanyl. It’s a monstrously powerful drug that is gaining popularity in the US and kills tens of thousands of people every year. It is produced in clandestine Chinese laboratories, but there is no doubt that the hands of all-powerful Mexican drug cartels will soon reach it.
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