Bolivian authorities have exposed a major cocaine operation led by Colombian nationals. The laboratory was operated deep in Amazon jungles of Bolivia’s eastern lowlands. Here are more details on this story.
Authorities busted a massive cocaine laboratory deep in Bolivia's Amazon jungle that is tipped to be run by Columbian nationals.
The lab was set up some 43 miles (70 kilometers) outside of the city of Concepcion. Anti-drug forces approached the remote location by helicopter and boat, but found it was virtually unmanned when they arrived.
Police believe an alert system gave the Colombians time to escape, leaving the police with just one arrest.
Speaking from La Paz, Felipe Caceres, the vice minister of social development, said there were up to 20 Colombians working at the lab.
[Felipe Caceres, Social Development Vice-Minister]: (Male, Spanish)
"We know there were between 15 and 20 Colombians, and only one was arrested. We urgently need a law that lets us intercept telephone calls."
Authorities estimate the lab may have employed up to 30 people, with the capacity to produce 250 kilograms of cocaine a day - a huge output according to one anti-drug official.
[Coronel Medina, Anti-drug Agent]: (Male, Spanish)
"I would say it was a super-mega factory that turned cocaine paste into cocaine."
Anti-drug agents rounded up and catalogued chemicals and ammunition found at the site where they also found guns, walkie-talkies and three generators.