Cablegate: Bolivia Cn Update November 09
DE RUEHLP #1730/01 3451415
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 111414Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0214
INFO RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/NATIONAL DRUG INTELLIGENCE CENTER JOHNSTOWN PA
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 0019
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUMIESS/SOUTHCOM IESS MIAMI FL
UNCLAS LA PAZ 001730
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR BL KJUS PHUM
SUBJECT: Bolivia CN Update November 09
REF: (A) LA PAZ 1554; (B) LA PAZ 1558
* Interdiction: Year-to-date seizures of precursors and
labs rose substantially; seizures of cocaine base rose slightly;
and cocaine HCL seizures declined. In a series of 43 joint
operations called "Plan Inca," Bolivian and Peruvian Counter
Narcotics (CN) forces seized 100 kilos of cocaine and arrested 15
individuals. (paras 2-8).
* Eradication: The Joint Eradication Task Force (JTF)
eradicated 6,229 hectare equivalents (HAs) from January to November
30, surpassing the GOB's 2009 target of 5,000 HAs. (paras 9-10).
* Development and Training: NAS conducted an International
Police Women's Conference on Discrimination and Human Rights. The
GOB moved forward on creating a national polygraph unit.
Significant NAS-sponsored training continued. (paras 11-14).
* Prevention and Demand Reduction: NAS funded and
coordinated training for 98 rehabilitation clinic staff members.
* Aviation: NAS C130 Program (Black Devils) flew 45 hours
in support of CN operations. NAS Helo and Small-wing Program (Red
Devils) supported a UNODC project to document coca cultivation
levels. (paras 16-17).
1. Jan. - Nov. 2009 vs. Jan. - Nov. 2008: CN units conducted
5 percent more operations (10,655); seized 1 percent more cocaine
base (20.6 MT); 74 percent more marijuana (25.3 MT); 94 percent
more solid precursors (814 MT); 18 percent more liquid precursors
(1,505,038.91 liters). CN units also destroyed 167 percent more
refining labs (16) and 100 percent more recycling labs (8).
However, CN police seized 33 percent less cocaine HCL (4.7 MT); 21
percent less coca leaf (1,520 MT); destroyed 11 percent fewer
maceration pits (6,347) and detained six percent fewer suspects
2. In the first half of November, Bolivian and Peruvian CN
forces carried out a large joint-operation along the border between
the two countries called "Plan Inca." CN units destroyed 9 labs
and 10 maceration pits; seized 117 kilos of cocaine; 6.5 MT of
Bolivian coca leaf; 0.85 MT of Peruvian coca leaf; 360 kilos of
solid precursors; 300 liters of liquid precursors; and arrested 23
suspects (22 Bolivians and 1 Peruvian).
3. In the second half of November, Bolivian and Argentine CN
forces carried out a large joint-operation along the border between
the two countries called "Plan AR-BOL." The CN units destroyed 15
labs and 27 maceration pits; CN units seized 534 kilos of cocaine;
4.4 MT of coca leaf; 3.2 MT of solid precursors; 5,390 liters of
liquid precursors; and arrested 14 suspects.
4. FELCN commander General Oscar Nina told reporters that both
large operations were part of Bolivia's effort to increase
bilateral CN cooperation with neighbors in order to minimize the
deficiencies that resulted from the "departure" of the Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA).
5. During a series of coordinated operations in the Department
of La Paz November 20-26, FELCN seized 93 kilos of cocaine and five
tons of marijuana, detained 17 people, and seized five vehicles.
FELCN reported that it carried out several of the operations at the
international airport in El Alto, where it seized cocaine hidden in
various objects, such as musical instruments, destined for Turkey,
France, and Spain.
6. On November 22, FELCN Santa Cruz arrested two men and
seized 309 kilos of cocaine base paste at a clandestine airstrip
located on private property in Taperas, a rural area in the
Department of Santa Cruz. FELCN reported that the cocaine paste
had come from Peru, and that the men intended to fly it to a
laboratory in another Santa Cruz location to be turned into cocaine
HCl and then exported.
7. FELCN destroyed two large-scale cocaine factories on
November 25 in the Sicaya municipality in the Department of
Cochabamba. FELCN estimated that the factories had produced 180
kilos of cocaine base paste during three months of operation, and
that they could have produced one mega ton per year if they had
remained in operation. The seizures brought the total number of
seized factories in the region to 12 during the month.
8. On November 30, FELCN discovered over 58 kilos of cocaine
HCl hidden inside a vehicle with six passengers on the road between
Filadelfia and Porvenir in Pando Department. The car was covered
with election campaign material for the ruling Movimiento al
Socialismo (MAS) and had election material inside as well.
Officials from the MAS Pando office denied that MAS had any
involvement in the incident, and suggested that the traffickers may
have been using the election propaganda as a means to mislead
9. JTF eradicated 6,229 hectares from January to November 30,
surpassing the GOB's 2009 target of 5,000 HAs. During the same
period in 2008 JTF eradicated 5,437 HA, over 12 percent less than
in 2009. JTF destroyed 29,550 square meters of seedbeds from
January to November, a significant decrease from the approximately
64,176 square meters destroyed during the same period in 2008.
(Note: The destruction of 10 square meters of seedbeds prevents
the eventual cultivation of one hectare of coca. End note.).
10. Despite the steady pace of eradication noted above, the GOB
has declined to conduct significant eradication operations in
so-called "zero-coca" zones, specifically in National Parks in the
Chapare region, where cocalero federations are prominent. The JTF
has eradicated approximately three percent of estimated coca in the
National Parks and we are aware of no plans to eradicate in these
areas because of possible conflicts with illegal coca growers and
Law Enforcement and Development Training
11. NAS teamed up with the Bolivian National Police (BNP), the
Swiss Embassy, and a Bolivian congresswoman from the ruling
Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) to organize in La Paz a November 4-5
International Police Women's Conference on Discrimination and Human
Rights. The conference drew 172 participants from Bolivia, the
United States, and 12 Latin American countries. (reftel B).
12. GOB Minister of Government Alfredo Rada signed on September
15, 2009 a GOB resolution to create a new national polygraph unit
that will be used exclusively in the GOB's CN program. All GOB CN
officers will be required to take and pass a polygraph exam prior
to being approved for assignment. NAS had worked with the GOB for
over a year to achieve this result. NAS will not be involved in
the polygraph process, but will provide both administrative support
and quality control oversight.
13. NAS completed the installation of a new "I-3" Case Tracking
System at the BNP's Office of Professional Responsibility's (OPR)
National Disciplinary Tribunal in La Paz. The system is a database
that will allow BNP to track all allegations and cases regarding
police officer integrity violations. The OPR is already using the
system and reports positive results.
14. NAS-funded training during the month included:
* Seventy female police officers from Bolivia and
neighboring countries participated in the third and final month of
a NAS-funded Advanced CN Training course at the GARRAS School in
Chimore. NAS Director will attend the December 11 graduation
ceremony; Vice Minister Felipe Caceres is expected to attend.
* Forty-five BNP officers and prosecutors completed a
one-week NAS-funded Trafficking in Persons course in the city of
Santa Cruz. The graduates will be assigned to six NAS-supported
Special TIP Investigative Units that we plan to establish along the
Bolivian borders with Brazil, Argentina, and Peru.
* Forty-six FELCN officers completed a two-week cyber crime
course in La Paz that was jointly sponsored by the BNP and NAS.
Prevention and Demand Reduction
15. NAS funded and coordinated a training class for 98 workers
from the Therapeutic Community Rehabilitation Centers of Bolivia
(ABCT). The staff from 84 different ABCT centers across the
country came to La Paz, Cochabamba, or Santa Cruz to improve
knowledge and skills related to intervention and rehabilitation
16. The NAS C130 Program (Black Devils) flew 45 hours in support
of CN operations. The NAS Helo and Small Wing Program (Red Devils)
supported a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
project to document the level of coca cultivation in Santa Ana de
Suapi (known as Suapi) in the Alto Beni River Valley. RDTF also
supported a FELCN interdiction operation on the Bolivian-Argentine
17. NAS completed the last of our helicopter refurbishments in the
UH-1H fleet. The RDTF now operates nine UH-1H aircraft and one
C-206. A second C-206 will be ready for use after approximately
three months of extensive maintenance work.