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Government of Bolivia highlights UN presence in drug destruction

La Paz, Jan 26 (Prensa Latina) The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is present in 97 percent of the narcotics incineration operations in Bolivia, Government Minister Carlos Eduardo del Castillo assured.

“We have reached 97 percent support in the destruction of controlled substances (…). If we compare it with our previous administration, we had already reached 87 percent and with that percentage we were already breaking the records of former managements,” he explained.

The minister commented that before, of “every 10 bricks of cocaine that the Special Force to Fight Drug Trafficking (FELCN) seized, the UNODC only verified that six (…)” were destroyed.

UNODC validation consists of verifying the chain of custody of controlled substances, compliance with all established legal procedures, participating and ensuring the destruction of all the drugs seized avoiding by this its diversion to any type of illicit or irregular activities.

UNODC representative Troels Vester reported that the goal proposed for 2023 before the European Union (EU), which finances this work, was “to be present in 80 percent of the destruction of drug packages of more than 10 kilos.” He also stated that he was happy to confirm that in the recently concluded year they assisted in 97 percent of these operations, “that is (…), we are almost at 100 percent of drug destruction in Bolivia.”

According to an official report from the FELCN, a total of 700 events of incineration of drugs were carried out in 2023, with the UNODC assisting 469 of them, always a volume greater than 10 kilograms.

Referring to the issue, the EU ambassador to Bolivia, Michael Dóczy, expressed that the “efforts in relation to the destruction of drugs that Bolivia has made are reflected in the record seizure and destruction of illegal substances, and in particular in a record quantity of cocaine destroyed for the second consecutive year.”