SPECIAL ANALYSIS - COLOMBIA: OPIUM POPPY CULTIVATION ON THE INCREASE

Created: 12/3/1991

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Special Analysis

Poppy Cultivation on the Increase

A significant expansion of opium poppy cultivation during the past year has accompanied increased Colombian drug trafficker interest in the international heroin market. Although production potential is still small by global market standards, at the current rate of expansion opium cultivation in Colombia could exceed the total from Mexico and

principal Latin American opiumof next

Scattered, small-scale opium poppv_

acaitcrecs, small-scale opium

C

lombia for more

ntrepreneurs

rtvoivcd are mtdievei cocaine tramckers. the major cartels may

2be developmentoduciion capability io r

Heroin production in Colombia is still minor and the quality is variable, but the cartels may be getting ready to carveiche in the US market if heroin use increases, as Colombian traffickers _mav occurthe next few

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ow would allowo rapidly exploit any expansion, and an indigenous opium source would let them control tbe cycle from acquisition of the raw material to final distribution.!"

Senior Colombian officials are concerned about the potential threat of the heroin trade but have yet to choose an avenue of attack. Bogota claims to have manually eradicatedectares of poppies, but this approach diverts large numbers of police and military from other countemarcotics and security operations. Moreover, rnost.ficl ire replanted afterforces leave

The government fears that traffickers will exploit

environmental concerns caused bv lantc-scale sorayinsvpossiblyolitical backfash-jaj* .

npmm for ruease

COLOMBIA: Opium-Poppy Cultivation Expanding

iolombia are now devoted to opium cultivation,hMriest grower in the WesternHemisphere, although the total could be ificantly xreaterl^"*

profits denved from poppy cultivation have cTtTcecTboth firstand experienced narcotics growers, according to variousGaviria is committc^ac destroying poppyat ihe cost of diverging critical

"Assets from cocaine interdiction. The National Police havehectares of poppy fields in the first three months, ofcomparedectares for all of last

Caniment: Bogota will continue aggressive poppy eradication,probably will ask Washington to increase counternarcotics aidmaintain cocaine inlcrdiclion efforts. Growers and traffickersby replanting, reducing field size, intercropping withand firing on spray aircraft. Because poppies can bequickly replanted in sprayed fields andingle fieldthreeauij an aggressively ear-round eradicationfor

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