Thursday, January 28, 2010

Police Bust "Cocaine MegaLab" in Santa Cruz

On January 27th the Bolivian equivalent of the DEA called the FELCN captured a large and technologically sophisticated cocaine laboratory in the community of Clara San Pedro just 10km from the city of Santa Cruz. According to Santa Cruz's El Deber newspaper, this "mega lab" consisted of several rustic dwellings that housed massive amounts of chemicals used to process pasta basica (or cocaine paste) into cocaine. Police confiscated 1800 liters of acetone, 600 liters of sulfuric ether, 5 500 gallon tanks, hydraulic press, digital scales, pumps, water heaters, and various other complicated tools and cocaine precursors along with six kilos of cocaine in bricks.

FELCN chief Jorge Romero estimated that the lab could produce 50 kilos of refined cocaine per day and was using Colombian technology. Two men on the premises were arrested in this raid. Four days earlier the FELCN had found a factory with 35 kilos on hand at a site 80 kilometers away on the road to Camiri and had arrested the land owner along with five other people present who claimed to have not been aware of the massive cocaine production going on. Last Tuesday police had seized six kilos of cocaine from a package in the bus terminal that was disguised in cans of dehydrated milk.  The FELCN are ramping up efforts to curb what is seen as rising cocaine production in Bolivia.

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