Los Narco Boludos: Argentina Breaks Bad

A recent article in Foreign Policy outlines the rapid proliferation of drug trafficking in Argentina – a problem compounded by the geography of exposed borders, a strong European market, a strong domestic market, and the displacement of northern cartels from the continuation of militarized crackdowns in Mexico and Colombia. And as HELA discussed last month, the continued insistence of the US to stick to a painfully outdated and counterproductive drug policy that refuses to consider legalization has created breakdowns in cross-border cooperation between Argentine and US enforcement agencies.

Some highlights:

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Busts over the past two years suggest that Spain is an especially popular entry point for drugs dispatched from Argentina. In April 2010, Spanish officials seized 800 kilograms of cocaine from a truck disguised as an official support vehicle for the Dakar Rally off-road race, later affirming that the drugs were loaded in Argentina. Last January, an executive jet piloted by two sons of Argentine dictatorship-era air force generals arrived in Barcelona from Argentina laden with 1,000 kilograms of cocaine, with the ties to the military piquing concern about institutional corruption. These busts suggest a clear transit route between the two countries and raise questions as to how such a high volume of drugs are exiting Argentina undetected. According to an official report compiled by Martin Verrier, a security advisor for Argentine congressman Francisco de Narvaez, 95 percent of the cocaine shipped from Argentina safely arrives at its destination. “In Argentina, the situation is such that narcotraffickers enter and exit without inconvenience,” laments Claudio Izaguirre, president of the Argentine Anti-Drugs Association, a Buenos Aires-based NGO.

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