Latin America





Although South America — primarily Colombia — produces only 2 percent of the world’s opium, it remains an important source of heroin in the United States, particularly along the east coast.

  • Most Colombian heroin flows to the United States directly via commercial air— primarily to New York and Miami — from Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. Smaller amounts travel from “nontraditional” transit countries such as Argentina, Brazil, and Chile to the United States. Couriers smuggle up to 1 to 2 kilograms of heroin concealed on their person, in their baggage, or through ingestion.
  • The Central America-Mexican corridor appears to serve as a secondary transit route for South American heroin moving to the United States. The drug moves overland, by commercial air, or a combination of both, to northern Mexico, for smuggling across the United States southwest border in vehicles or on foot.
  • Colombian heroin also flows to the United States through the Caribbean. Heroin shipments from South America move by noncommercial boats and cruise ships, or by courier on commercial flights to Puerto Rico, Miami, and New York. A small percentage of the heroin is smuggled to Europe. Mexico also produces only 2 percent of the world’s opium, but most of the illicit crop is converted into heroin and shipped to the western United States.
  • Most Mexican heroin crosses into the United States through the southwest border, hidden in commercial and private vehicles or smuggled by individual couriers who conceal the drug on their person or in personal baggage. A smaller percentage of Mexican heroin enters the United States directly on commercial flights.

Historical Document
Posted: May 04, 2007 05:31 PM
Last Updated: May 27, 2014 11:45 AM