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A police officer searches a man during a drug raid at the “21” slum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 2014 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

How Argentina Became the Newest Drug Trafficking Hub

Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014

Compared to some of its neighbors, Argentina has been relatively unscathed by the effects of drug trafficking. But a recent increase in drug-related problems, including a spike in the trafficking of cocaine from Bolivia and Peru to the United States and Europe, has exposed some of Argentina’s key structural weaknesses, underscoring the need for comprehensive reform.

While the cocaine and other drugs being transited through Argentina are mainly produced elsewhere, processing laboratories were also recently found in the country itself. The trade in methamphetamines is growing as well. Between 2004 and 2008, 48 tons of ephedrine—a precursor chemical used in meth production—were imported; only 8 tons are needed to meet the pharmaceutical industry’s legitimate needs. Marijuana, too, is a problem, with Argentine authorities seizing a record 8.5 tons earlier this month. ...

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