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News > Latin America

Evo’s Bolivia Confiscates ‘Criminal’ US Weapons Cargo

  • Bolivian police discover a large cargo of military weapons from the United States.

    Bolivian police discover a large cargo of military weapons from the United States. | Photo: Ministerio de Gobierno Bolivia

Published 18 February 2017
Opinion

The seized weapons were shipped in November 2016 from the Everglades port in Miami.

The National Customs of Bolivia confiscated a large cargo of military weapons from the United States on Friday, launching a criminal investigation of the case. 

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The seized weapons were shipped in November 2016 from the Everglades port in Miami, HispanTV reports. They entered Santa Cruz in eastern Bolivia after being transported through the Dominican Republic, Peru and Chile.

“We must see what was the purpose of this internment in Bolivian territory and who are the members of this criminal organization,” Bolivian Interior Minister Carlos Romero told reporters. 

Romero added that he found it “striking” that the cargo passed “so many controls” without being detected. 

The weapons cargo was found in the double bottom of a trailer vehicle. It contained 34 long arms, including rifles and machine guns with telescopic sight, Bolivia’s National Customs reports. Police also discovered 41 pistols and cell phones worth US$46,000. 

Romero claims the weapons, produced in Eastern Europe and shipped from the United States, were possibly for “criminal activities linked to drug trafficking.” 

Police have since arrested four people, including the driver of the truck and the alleged consignee, but have not disclosed the names of the detainees or the companies, HispanTV adds. 

Bolivian President Evo Morales’ administration, considered to be one of Latin America’s most progressive on drug laws, has been a fierce critic of the U.S. war on drugs in the region. 

“The fight against drug trafficking is a tool of control for the United States,” Morales said last September.

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“The U.S., as the largest consumer of drugs in the world, has no moral authority to dismiss the fight against drug trafficking of other peoples'.”

Last year, former U.S. president Barack Obama claimed Morales’ drug policies “failed to adhere to international counternarcotics agreements.” Bolivia is currently the only country exempt from a ban on growing coca for medical and traditional purposes. 

Prior to Morales’ administration, Santa Cruz was a hotspot for narcotrafficking groups with cocaine operations in neighboring Paraguay and Brazil. 

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