Narcotics agents in Honduras discovered a major cocaine-processing complex last month in mountainous triple-canopy jungle near the border with Guatemala, McClatchy Newspapers report. It is a worrisome sign that Colombian drug lords are shifting their operations to the weaker countries of Central America.
The jungle complex, the first large drug-processing laboratory found north of South America’s Andean region, signals a major change in the cocaine business. Traditionally, the industry has processed leaves from coca plant in hidden labs in Colombia, then shipped the cocaine to North America and Europe. Now, some traffickers are shipping semi-refined coca paste to Honduras, where it goes through the final processing into white powder. The seized jungle lab almost certainly wasn’t a one-time experiment by a major cartel. There probably are more such labs in Honduras and maybe Central America, said Honduras Security Minister Oscar Alvarez.