Bolivia Drug Cop Says Cocaine Processing On Rise

first_imgBy Dialogo April 21, 2009 Cocaine production is on the rise in Bolivia as Colombian and Mexican cartels hire intermediaries to process locally made coca paste there rather than simply exporting it, according to Bolivia’s top anti-drug officer. Cartels are contracting a growing group of middle men to process the paste into cocaine in Bolivia, saving time they would otherwise spend processing it themselves, Bolivia’s anti-drug police chief Oscar Nina told The Associated Press Thursday in an interview. “There is more interest and investment in purifying coca paste here and exporting it, rather than sending it to Colombia for purification” as in years past, Nina said. Police have raided three modern cocaine labs in Bolivia’s eastern lowlands in recent months, arresting two Colombians at one jungle factory that was discovered when police intercepted a small plane carrying 660 pounds (300 kilograms) of cocaine in March. While no Colombians were found at the other two labs, there were signs of a Colombian presence, Nina said, giving few other details. The shift mirrors a pattern seen in Peru in the mid-1990s, when anti-drug police say local groups began making cocaine from coca they’d previously sent to Colombia for processing. Bolivian coca is largely harvested by local families. Some crush its leaves into paste and sell to intermediaries from Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia, Nina said. Those middle men then process the paste into cocaine at labs across eastern Bolivia, and fly it out from hidden jungle airstrips or have so-called human mules carry it into Brazil and Peru on foot, Nina said. Bolivian police say they busted 3,000 such labs last year, seizing a record 27 tons of cocaine from largely small operations. So far this year, they report seizing 9 tons of cocaine and making 992 drug-related arrests. Bolivia is the third largest producer of coca and cocaine after Colombia and Peru. Much Bolivian coca is legally grown for use in teas and herbal remedies in the country’s central Chapare region, where President Evo Morales began his political career as head of a coca-growers union. Morales acknowledged for the first time last December that some Bolivian coca ends up as cocaine, blaming “drug addiction” in foreign countries for the shift. But he also said he considers drug trafficking a betrayal of Bolivia and warned coca producers he would send state security forces to the region if they participated in the drug trade. A gram of cocaine may sell for about $2 in Bolivia, but more than $100 in the U.S.last_img read more

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Badgers burned in battle with Phoenix

first_imgJunior guard Alyssa Karel scored a game-high 21 points Tuesday night for the Badgers, but it was not enough as UW came up short against UW-Green Bay.[/media-credit]Wisconsin never led Tuesday night as the women’s basketball team lost its first game of the year, 60-58, to in-state rival UW-Green Bay at the Kohl Center.Despite trailing from the first minute and falling behind by as many as 14, the Badgers had the momentum, the ball and a chance to tie the game with 12 seconds left. Unfortunately for UW, junior guard Alyssa Karel, who led the team with a game-high 21 points, missed a runner along the baseline, and UWGB held on for its first win in Madison since 2002.Though the Badgers couldn’t convert in the late-game situation, head coach Lisa Stone said the focus shouldn’t be on just that one play.“There’s a lot of plays in a game,” Stone said. “This has nothing to do with 12 seconds or two seconds left to go in the game–we can’t dig ourselves that big of a hole. We have to come out swinging right from the get-go and execute.”It was the second game in a row that the Badgers fell behind by double-digits and clawed their way back into the contest. On Sunday, the Badgers overcame a 15-point deficit against Cleveland State to survive 70-68.While Stone said she was proud of the way her team again fought back, she noted that it can’t continue to put itself in those situations and be successful.“Courageous comeback by our team, but we can’t put ourselves in that kind of hole and expect to come out on top,” she said. “When you’re trailing you fight because that’s what you have to do. And we have to have that same fight from the tip when it’s 0-0.”Wisconsin fell behind 8-0 to start the contest, but cut the lead to three by the half. Early in the second half, however, fouls plagued the home team, as the Badgers found themselves over the limit with over 14 minutes remaining and allowed the Phoenix to make a living at the charity stripe.For the game UWGB shot 26-of-31 from the charity stripe, including 18-of-22 — 82 percent — in the second half. Wisconsin was 17-of-22 (77 percent) on the night.In addition to foul trouble, the Badgers struggled throughout the game to establish an interior presence. Starting forwards Tara Steinbauer and Lin Zastrow combined for just nine points, on 2-of-8 shooting, and just four rebounds, all by Zastrow.Luckily for Wisconsin, Karel kept the team within striking range with her hot hand. She poured in 13 of the Badgers’ 28 first half points and finished 10-of-16 from the floor, on an array of short jumpers and runners in the lane.The Phoenix held a 13-point lead with just over eight minutes remaining when a Karel layup, her first basket of the second half, jump-started a 12-0 run by the Badgers. Fellow guard Rae Lin D’Alie capped the surge with a fast-break layup with 1:32 remaining.The senior from Waterford, Wis., provided key defensive pressure and emotional intensity throughout the Badgers comeback, yet was noticeably unhappy with her night’s performance.“I’m disappointed with myself in particular because I had [energy] at the end of the game, but not at the beginning,” D’Alie said. “And that’s something I’m going to definitely change for this next game.”That next game for the Badgers will come Friday at the BTI Tip-Off Tournament in Eugene, Ore., where the team will face Portland State, Oregon and Cal-State Fullerton on three consecutive days.The tournament begins a stretch where the team will play eight games in 18 days prior to Big Ten play.As for Tuesday night’s emotional loss, Stone said one game does not a season make.“I believe in this basketball team. We played a really good team tonight who came in here and beat us, but this is one game. It doesn’t [change] my thoughts on what this team can do.”last_img read more

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