Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Mexican drug cartels have expanded operations to Peru and Bolivia, says DEA official
Rodney Benson, the DEA's chief of intelligence, testified before the U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. He told legislators that his agency has been monitoring the trend since 2007. Benson said that it has been very difficult for the DEA to identify the cartels involved in Bolivia, since U.S. agents were expelled by president Evo Morales in 2008. Morales (below) is an outspoken critic of U.S. policy in the region, and has accused DEA personnel of being agents provacateur, sent to destabilize his government.
Benson told committee members that Bolivian cocaine is exported directly to Africa and western Europe. He also said that cocaine production is greatly on the rise in Peru, and will soon surpass that of Bolivia. Benson testified that the growing narcotics industry in Peru, where a new president took office in June, represents the government's severest challenge. He noted that drug consumption has increased greatly in neighboring Brazil, although it is still behind that of the United States.
March 18 - Evo Morales threatens to close American embassy in Bolivia
at 8:01 PM