Three cocaine ‘mega-factories’ destroyed in Bolivia as authorities carry out fresh raids against major drug gangs

Bolivian police have announced they have uncovered and destroyed three huge cocaine production sites that were hidden in forestry reserves and national parks, during a successful anti-drug squad operation.

The three makeshift so-called ‘mega-factories’, allegedly capable of making 910 kilograms of crack cocaine each day, were covered by tarpaulins in woodland areas of eastern Beni province, central Cochabamba and south-central Santa Cruz when police found them.

Jaime Mamani, Bolivia’s deputy minister for social defense and controlled substances, confirmed that the trio of sites have since been destroyed, while praising police for seizing 7.41 tonnes of cocaine in just four months from drug traffickers.

“We are conducting operations throughout our territory, along borders and areas where the fight against drug trafficking had not previously reached,” Mamani said in a statement.

The police operation comes as Bolivian authorities began the destruction of agricultural coca crops in Los Yungas and El Chapare which were in violation of the quota for their legal cultivation, having suspended the work during the Covid-19 outbreak.

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The United Nations representative on drugs and crime in Bolivia, Thierry Rostan, addressed the success of the police raids in a statement, warning that the illegal narcotics situation in the country is “a real problem”, as “drug trafficking never stops.”

Earlier in May, as part of the government’s campaign to crack down on illegal drug activity, Bolivia extradited a prominent criminal to Brazil over charges of international drug trafficking along the Amazonian border with Brazil. Lima Lombo, who is believed to run the Lima Lobo drugs clan, has been in Bolivian police custody since 2019 and will now face trial in Brazil.

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