Cablegate: Bolivia Cn Update December 09
DE RUEHLP #0090/01 0201348
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201347Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0440
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
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUMIESS/SOUTHCOM IESS MIAMI FL
UNCLAS LA PAZ 000090
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR BL KJUS PHUM
SUBJECT: Bolivia CN Update December 09
REF: LA PAZ 3; 09 LA PAZ 1820
* Interdiction: Seizures of cocaine HCl and coca leaf
declined significantly in 2009 compared to the previous year.
Seizures of solid and liquid precursor chemicals, and cocaine
recycling and HCl labs rose dramatically. (paras 2-6).
* Eradication: The Joint Eradication Task Force (JTF)
eradicated 6,295 hectare equivalents (HAs) in 2009, surpassing the
GOB's 2009 target of 5,000 HAs. (paras 7-9).
* Development and Training: NAS Director attended a
graduation ceremony for the Second Advanced International Women's
Counter Narcotics Course. Significant NAS-sponsored training
continued. (paras 10-13).
* Prevention and Demand Reduction: NAS funded and
coordinated training for 98 rehabilitation clinic staff members.
* Aviation: NAS C-130B Program (Black Devils) flew 32
hours in support of CN operations. NAS Helicopter and Small Wing
Program (Red Devils) continued maintenance on one of its two
Cessnas. (para 15).
2. 2009 vs. 2008: See Ref B for comparative statistics 2008
3. FELCN Commander Oscar Nina reported that in CN forces
seized 1,179 kilos of cocaine during a joint border-operations
conducted in November and December with Peru, Chile, Brazil, and
Argentina. Nina highlighted the importance of these initiatives
and stated that such joint operations will continue in the future.
4. On December 22, FELCN Santa Cruz Viru Viru airport seized
approximately 10 kilos of cocaine HCl hidden in boxes of Christmas
toys en route to Madrid. No arrests were made. Santa Cruz FELCN
Director Jorge Romero told reporters that drug traffickers had also
recently hidden cocaine in dentures, picture frames, and crib
5. Approximately 25 percent of the drugs seized during 2009
came from the Department of Santa Cruz, according to FELCN Santa
Cruz Director Colonel Jorge Romero. Speaking at a press
conference, Romero stated that the largest changes in 2009 were "an
exponential increase" in marijuana (FELCN Santa Cruz seized 15 tons
seized in 2009, a 2,900 percent increase over 2008), the
proliferation of Colombian-style labs, and the increasing presence
of foreigners (220 detained in Santa Cruz in 2009).
6. FELCN arrested on December 11 Augusto Toro Blacut, the
22-year old leader of a drug organization engaged in illegal trade
between Bolivia and Norway. Toro, a dual Bolivian-Norwegian
citizen, had been declared a wanted fugitive by Interpol.
7. JTF eradicated 6,341 HAs in 2009, surpassing the GOB's 2009
target of 5,000 HAs. During the same period in 2008 JTF eradicated
5,484 HA, over 15 percent less than in 2009. JTF destroyed 30,479
square meters of seedbeds in 2009, a significant decrease from the
approximately 64,436 square meters destroyed in 2008. (Note: The
destruction of 10 square meters of seedbeds prevents the eventual
cultivation of one hectare of coca. End Note.).
8. Vice Minister of Social Defense Felipe Caceres told
reporters in late December that coca cultivation grew by
approximately 6 percent in 2009 and has extended into new
territories (especially in the Yungas). Caceres said President
Morales is concerned with this growth and ordered the procurement
of new helicopters, planes, and radar equipment to combat coca
growth and drug trafficking.
Law Enforcement Training and Institutional Development
9. NAS Director attended the December 11 graduation ceremony
for the Second Advanced International Women's Counter Narcotics
Course held at the "International Antinarcotics Garras Del Valor
Training Academy" in Chimore. This three-month course covered
counternarcotics operations, land navigation, escape and evasion,
and jungle survival training. It is one of the most rigorous
counter-narcotics jungle operational course in the region, and
considered to be a significant accomplishment for the graduates of
the school. Only 41 of the 78 female officers who began completed
the course. Seven of the women were from Ecuador and Panama.
10. NAS, in conduction with the GOB, identified, selected, and
provided the U.S. training and certification for 10 BNP officers
who will be assigned in January to the recently created CN
polygraph Unit. The Unit will report directly for the Vice
Minister of Social Defense and Minister of Government. NAS
provided the U.S. training and certification of these BNP officers
and will continue to support this GOB initiative. NAS is also
coordinating with the Attorney General to create an official
Polygraph unit within the Public Ministry (Judicial Branch), which
will be examine all personnel assigned to the CN Prosecutor
11. Other NAS-funded training during the month included:
* A one-week BNP course in Trinidad on Administrative
Procedures for Disciplinary Actions. Forty-five police officers
attended this course, which was conducted by investigators from the
BNP's Office of Professional Responsibility and Disciplinary
* A two-week Advanced Interview Techniques course in Oruro.
Seventy-nine police and prosecutors attended.
12. NAS is working to incorporate several new courses into the
2010 curricula at the Garras CN training school, including a
Tactical CN Operations course for prosecutors, and a Crowd Control
course for security personnel assigned to the eradication projects.
Trafficking in Persons & Victim Assistance Programs
13. On December 21 & 22 Santa (accompanied by the Charge and NAS
Director), made a surprise visits December 21 several TIP victim
shelters that the US Mission La Paz supports. One of the shelters,
Centro de Terapia Mujeres, located in Villa Fatima, La Paz, is
supervised by the Bolivian government and currently houses 19 girls
between the ages of 12 and 17 who were rescued from the streets in
La Paz as sexual exploitation victims. The second shelter, Las
Madres Adoratrices, is supervised by the Catholic Church and houses
18 young women who are victims of abuse or trafficking, all of whom
have small children of their own. Several GOB officials attended
these events, including representatives from the Bolivian Congress
and the Governor's office.
Prevention and Demand Reduction
14. NAS worked with the GOB's Health Ministry and the Therapeutic
Communities Bolivian Association (ABCT) to conduct a three-day
training seminar for ABCT staff in the cities of Cochabamba, Santa
Cruz, and La Paz. The NAS-funded program taught 98 staff members
(from 50 ABCT centers across the country) modern prevention
techniques, rehabilitation practices, and program management
concepts. ABCT anticipates that the program will benefit at least
500 clients and their families. This is the first phase in a more
in-depth training program designed to improve the services offered
by Bolivian rehabilitation centers throughout the country.
15. The NAS C130 Program (Black Devils) flew 32 hours for the
month of December, including flights for the GOB to Chimore for an
eradication closing ceremony. They also flew missions to Chimore
for rotation of FTC, NAS Trinidad support to Cobija, Riberalta and
Guayamerin and flight to Patrick AFB with RDTF/INL cargo- hours in
support of CN operations. The NAS Helo and Small Wing Program (Red
Devils Task Force) NAS completed the last of our helicopter
refurbishments in the UH-1H fleet. The RDTF now has nine UH-1H
helicopters ready to fly. The RDTF continued extensive maintenance
on one of its two Cessnas.