LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) -- Bolivia and Peru are making significant inroads
reducing cocaine production, but Colombia's cocaine and heroin production
is increasing, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency said Tuesday.
Colombia is expected to produce 300 to 400 metric tons of pure cocaine
this year, compared to 200 tons last year, according to a written report
prepared by DEA agents in Bolivia. Increased cocaine production is directly
linked to greater acreage devoted to the cultivation of coca leaf, the raw
material for cocaine.
In Colombia, coca fields now cover 222,000 acres (88,800 hectares) of
land, compared with 81,000 acres (32,400 hectares) in 1992.
Peru is expected to produce 175 metric tons this year, compared to 240
tons in 1998 and 550 tons in 1992. Coca leaf cultivation has dropped from
283,000 acres (113,200 hectares) to 85,000 acres (34,000 hectares) in
Bolivia produced 225 metric tons of cocaine in 1992. Last year the figure
dropped to 70 metric tons and is expected to reach 50 metric tons this year,
the DEA said.
Bolivia's coca acreage has dropped through forceful eradication from
100,000 acres (40,000 hectares) to less than half that in 1999. A record
35,000 acres (14,000 hectares) were eradicated last year alone.
In Colombia a decade ago there was no opium poppy, the raw ingredient
used to produce heroin, but now Colombia has become a major grower and
production has skyrocketed to 61 tons last year, much of it earmarked for
Bolivian President Hugo Banzer has vowed to get all of Bolivia out of illegal
coca leaf growing and cocaine production before his five-year term ends in
In Colombia, meanwhile, the U.S. is carrying out a program to defeat
Colombian drug traffickers with help in training up to 3,000 military
personnel and 500 police officers before the end of the year, U.S. officials
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.