Brazilian police, working with their Peruvian counterparts, have conducted coca eradication operations in Peru as the Latin American superpower steps up its involvement in the regional war on drugs.
As part of the ongoing “Operacion Trapecio” (Operation Trapeze), Brazilian Federal Police eradicated 100 hectares of coca crops, the raw material for cocaine, in the Peruvian Amazon, near the tri-border area where Brazil, Peru and Colombia intersect, reported La Republica.
The head of the Brazilian police force’s organized crime division, Oslain Santana, stated, “Eliminating the plants is more efficient than simply seizing drug shipments. [These plantations] are near the Brazil border and are going to supply the Brazilian market.”
Brazil has become not only a major transit point for cocaine moving abroad, but has Latin America’s largest domestic market (up to 100 tons per annum), with Bolivia and Peru the major suppliers. Drug consumption has become one of the major threats to Brazilian security and prompted this nation to dedicate increasing resources to fighting narcotics trafficking.
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While the US is disengaging from South America in its war on drugs, concentrating its efforts on Central America and Mexico, Brazil has stepped up as a collaborator and provider of anti-narcotics aid and resources, working with Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. It is unlikely to be a coincidence that Brazil has increased its efforts in Peru, since the latter may well have overtaken Colombia as the world’s principal produce of cocaine.
Brazil has broadened its efforts, increasing patrols and checks along not only the border with Peru, but also its southern frontier with Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. It has already conducted joint operations with Bolivian police and provided helicopters and drones to aid this embattled neighbor which, like Peru, has seen coca cultivation increase and transnational criminal organizations set up shop.
There is speculation that increased eradication efforts in the Andes may eventually push coca cultivation to Brazil’s Amazon basin where a tropical variety of coca called “epadu” could be harvested.