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Document Creation Date: 
December 9, 2016
Document Release Date: 
May 25, 2001
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January 1, 1971
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Approved For Release 2001/09/04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R001 000040 01-9 Secret No Foreign Dissem DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE Intelligence Report The Illicit Production and Movement of Opiates in Latin America Secret CIA/BGI GR 71-4 January 1971 Approved For Release 2001/09/04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9 Approved For Release 2001/09/04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9 WARNING This document contains information affecting the national defense of the United States, within the meaning of Title 18, sections 793 and 794, of the US Code, as amended. Its transmission or revelation of its contents to or re- ceipt by an unauthorized person is prohibited by law. GROUP I Excluded from automatic downgrading and dectoniteation Approved For Release 2001/09/04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9 Approved For Release 2001/09/04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9 Next 8 Page(s) In Document Exempt Approved For Release 2001/09/04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9 Approved For Release 2001 /09/04~ ULN.4DP80-01601 R001000040001-9 NO FOREIGN DISSENT Central America and the Caribbean islands 18. Central America and the Caribbean have long been at the center of a vast swirl of contra- band activities. During the 17th and early 18th centuries the British, using Jamaica as their main base of operations, carried on a well-planned program of smuggling to weaken ties linking Spain and her New World empire. French and Dutch smugglers were also active throughout the area. Confederate blockade runners during the US Civil War and the rumrunners of a more recent era contributed to the reputation of the Caribbean as a smuggler's paradise. Illicit trade continues to flourish today, and narcotics of all types flow into, within, and out of the region in great volume. Thousands of small craft cruise the Caribbean waters and make monitoring of smuggling, not to mention its prevention, almost impossible. The pattern of movement of opiates.into the area from Europe and their subsequent movement to the United States is shown on the map. SECRET Approved For Release 200N fO9I R1t7JAIR 601 R001000040001-9 SECRET Approved For Release 11WMK GtIABF$pB 01601 ROO1000040001-9 Central America and The Caribbean: Illicit Traffic in Opiates '4-11111111 Flow of opiates O Transshipment point DOWN Na ? B,aa Al FI v\` ~REPUBLI , --~__ PoN-au-Pr - C p ~PU nto ( - - ICA ..,,,a, on ? PUERT N / RICO Barranquilla ""/ aibo ra L_ _ LQAo k "a?>u`erno V E N E Z CONFIDENTIAL BARBUDA r)IK) BassetetELDUPE7 r R poMINICA K1 "ARTINIAUE (F,.) !'SAINT LUCIA II IK) Sr. TRINIDAD and TOBAGO - r ~Pt~rt-ol-Spain 19. Panama, strategically located at the focal point of the sea lanes and airways of the Western Hemisphere, is recognized as one of the great contraband centers of the world. It handles large quantities of whiskey, cigarettes, and luxury goods of all sorts in transit to South America, and heroin and cocaine bound for the United States. Over 14,000 ships pass through the canal annually, and a constant stream of planes arrive and depart Tocumen Inter- national Airport near Panama City. Much of the heroin probably arrives by air from points far to the Approved For Release 200''R T CIA-RDP80-01601 ROO1000040001-9 NO FOREIGN DISSEM )KRENADA Approved For Release 200x/0?/ E M - P 9,11601 R001000040001-9 south -- such as Lima and Santiago. Cocaine also is introduced from these places and from Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador, and from points in Colombia. Ships from Europe and from the Orient also con- tribute to the supply of narcotics entering Panama. 20. Recently opium poppies have been discov- ered in Costa Rica. Ornamental varieties of the poppy (Pa aver somniferum L.) have been grown there for many years, but opium producing varieties have not been detected heretofore. Now, however, the plants have been discovered in a number of places in the northwestern part of Cartago Province -- in gardens, in a cemetery, and on the slopes of Irazu Volcano. Costa Rican authorities uprooted about 500 of the plants on 10 July 1970. Subsequently more than a thousand additional plants have been found and destroyed. 21. The opium content of these plants is said to be high, but the recently discovered fields are not large enough to have yielded a significant amount of opium. However, a farmer has reported having burned a 30-manzana field (slightly over 50 acres) of the opium poppies (without knowing what they were at the time) in order to plant toes less than a year ago. 22. The Costa Rican Guardia Civil is continuing to search the slopes o razu, an 11,260-foot volcano located in the Cordillera Central about 17 miles east of the capital city of San Jose. Additional secluded sites in the Cordillera Central as well as mountainous country elsewhere in Costa Rica may provide suitable sites for clandestine poppy cultivation. Fears have also been expressed that clandestine heroin laboratories may be in operation somewhere in the country but no real evidence of this has been discovered. According to one theory, drug traffickers are moving into Costa Rica because of increased pressure by security forces in other countries. Approved For Release 2001/09/04 : EGG; - f 80-01601 R001000040001-9 NiO FOREIGN DISSEM SECRET Approved For Release 2OO1J/O Oz G?jlPPIR?99-01601 R001000040001-9 23. Nicaragua has also been described W 25X1C as a transit point for heroin shipped north from South America via Panama to the United States. Certainly large amounts of other types of contraband, including small arms from Costa Rica, cross its borders regularly. 25. Seizures of heroin have been made recently in. Puerto Rico and in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. The heroin was of European origin and probably on its way to New York. An attempt in 1969 to smuggle heroin into the French island of Guadeloupe on a French ship was foiled, but now the drug flows from Marseille via the island to Miami and New York, possibly by air. 26. Curacao, in the Netherlands Antilles off the coast of Venezuela, is also an active transshipment point for European opiates destined for the United States. large amounts of heroin have gone from Amsterdam to Curacao and then on to Miami or New York. Numerous steamships and airlines offer regular and frequent services between the island and points in Europe, the United States, Canada, South and Central America, and practically all of the important islands of the Caribbean. As is typical of the principal smuggling centers around the world, the island contains extensive free port facilities and gambling casinos. Nearby Aruba is also involved in various types of smuggling (including cocaine, marijuana, and contraband Colombian coffee), but specific in- formation on. traffic in opiates is not available. 27. Trinidad may act as a transshipment Approved For Release 2001Jpf TCIA-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9 NO FOREIGN DISSEM 5X1 C L Approved For Release 2001/09/04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9 Approved For Release 2001/09/04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9 Approved For Release FOUg 4FDIA-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9 NO IGN era nquilla I TRINIDAD ATLANTIC OCEAN (j }) TOBAGO ro Mextco allao Valparais 2 ` JURUGUAY SaiWag 1 I Ftio-de Ja ad Paulo A O Transshipment point .-aw Flow of opiates 500 1000 Milee 00 1000 Kilometers 55 CONFIDENTIAL - 17 - Approved For Release 2001/09(344 /t-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9 NO FOREIGN DISSEM South America: Illicit Traffic in Opiates 5X1 C L Approved For Release 2001/09/04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9 Approved For Release 2001/09/04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9 Approved For ReleaseN?J0F1 gM EM 0-01 601 R001 000040001-9 35. The air routes used for smuggling within South America are devious and continuously changing. Usually, flights up and down the Pacific Coast hug the lowlands to avoid hazardous flying over the rugged Andes Mountains and to increase the chances of finding emergency landing spots in case of mechanical difficulties. A typical flight north from Santiago, Chile to the United States might include stops at Guayaquil, Ecuador,and Panama. Sometimes flights from the south stop at Cali or Bogota before continuing to Panama or proceeding 36. Heroin smuggled into Buenos Aires is sometimes shipped up the Rio de la Plata and Rio Parana. Offloaded before it reaches Paraguay (perhaps in the vicinity of Corrientes), it is then flown to clandestine airfields in that country. From Paraguay the drug continues by air to Brazil and then northward to the United States. Heroin smuggled into Paraguay from Argentina may also be flown to Santiago, Chile, and then up the Pacific Coast to Panama and eventually to the United States. 37. As early as 1966, reports indicated the probability of narcotics smuggling by air from France to Argentina, via Spain, and then on to the United States. 25X6 landing strips. the smuggl e s ot makeshift clandestine al rile Ids , In April 1970, Argentine police arrested members of a gang known as "La Pietra Forte". They were engaged in smuggling European heroin from Buenos Aires to the United States. 38. French-Italian and Latin American gangs are also thought to be smuggling heroin destined for transshipment to the United States into Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. These smuggling rings apparently have connections in New York and Naples, and probably in Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo as well. Approved For Release 200SkpinA - CIA-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9 NO FOREIGN DISSEM Approved For Release 2001 /09Ia4E i14 DP80-01601 R001000040001-9 NO FOREIGN DISSEM 39. The heroin traffic in South America is becoming closely linked to the more traditional traffic in cocaine and other well established contraband items such as American cigarettes. SECRET NO FOREIGN DISSEM Approved For Release 2001/09/ 4 : CIA-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9 Se Approved For Release 2001/09/04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9 No Foreign Dissem Secret Approved For Release 2001/09/04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R001000040001-9