A recent cocaine bust in Central America hints at a shift in drug smugglers' strategy
- Honduras busted the second coca-plantation in a year period over the weekend.
- The busts indicate drug traffickers may be shifting their activities in the country.
- Crime, corruption, and political unrest remain remain rampant in Honduras, limiting its progress against the drug trade.
TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - The second seizure of a coca plantation in Honduras within a year shows drug gangs are seeking to cut costs and turn the small Central American state into a producer rather than a transit hub for US-bound cocaine, authorities said on Tuesday.
Traffickers were likely experimenting to save on the costs of shipping the drug from Venezuela and Colombia, he added.Troubled, crime-ridden Honduras has for years served as a key transit point for cocaine moving to the United States from South America, where the vast majority of the coca plant used to produce the drug is grown. In 2014, the Honduran government authorized the used of military force against flights suspected of transporting drugs.
Honduras has made progress in capturing the leaders of drug-trafficking organizations and intercepting drug shipments, though its success has been limited by high rates of violent crime, weak enforcement, and widespread corruption.
Honduras was home to two of the world's 50 most violent cities in 2017, according to a ranking compiled by a Mexican civil-society group.
Distrito Central, a municipality that contains the capital, was 35 on the list, with 48 homicides per 100,000 people. San Pedro Sula, which is the second-largest city in Honduras, after the capital, was 26 on the list, with 51.18 homicides per 100,000 people.Spiraling violence from drug gangs, political unrest, and economic malaise has led to an exodus of Hondurans to Mexico, the US, and elsewhere in recent years.
Hondurans were the majority of an annual caravan of migrants who started a journey through Mexico to the US at the end of March, attracting the ire of President Donald Trump, who has deployed the National Guard to the US-Mexico border. The caravan's organized trip ended in Mexico City in early April, though many migrants said they'd continue to the US border.
(Reporting for Reuters by Gustavo Palencia; editing by Delphine Schrank and Rosalba O'Brien)
- Best mini fridge in India in 2021
- Branded fully automatic washing machines for large families
- Best fully automatic washing machines for effortless washing in India
- India is seeking details on the rise in Swiss bank deposits from the South Asian country
- A UN report says India's new IT rules do not conform with international human rights norms