Sat Apr 21, 2012, 12:33 PM
Zorro (4,020 posts)
The New Narco State
Last September, Argentine Judge Carlos Olivera Pastor emerged from his courthouse in the northwestern province of Jujuy to find a box next to his parked car. Numbered as if it held judicial files, Pastor removed the box's top and found instead a decapitated head, the eyes glassy and open. In October, two men savagely assaulted a penal secretary from the same district, warning that the next time they would murder him. According to officials at SEDRONAR, a government agency that fights addiction and drug trafficking, most of the drugs that enter Argentina pass through the sparsely populated northwest of the country, and the judges, who frequently handle drug-related cases, avowed narco-traffickers were responsible for the incidents.
Long a secondary shipping hub for drugs destined for Europe, international trafficking groups have recently expanded their activities within Argentina, increasing exportation and transforming it from a transit point into a destination for consumption and synthesis. Although Argentina's drug problem is not as dire as Colombia or Mexico's, "things have begun to change a great amount," says Monica Cuņarro, an independent prosecutor who formerly served as executive secretary of the National Commission of Public Policies in Issues of Prevention and Control of the Illicit Traffic of Drugs.
In 2010, the most recent year for which statistics are available, drug traffickers capitalized on the country's poor border control, lack of aerial surveillance, more than 1,500 illegal air strips, and long stretch of Atlantic coast to export more than 70 metric tons of cocaine -- mostly to Europe, which consumes about 123 metric tons every year.
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.
More at: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/19/argentina_drug_war?page=0,0
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