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United States Department of State

Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs


Bolivia. Bolivia produces sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydrochloride, and lime, but most of the chemicals used for processing cocaine base or cocaine hydrochloride originate in Argentina, Brazil or Chile, either smuggled across porous borders or diverted after being legally imported. Coca growers have become more involved in processing coca leaf into cocaine products, as well as the smuggling of chemicals for this purpose.

Bolivia is a party to the 1988 UN Convention and has the legal basis for implementing its chemical control provisions. The regulatory framework for implementation, however, is incomplete. The chemical control regime needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, something that is already underway. The specialized chemical police unit grew substantially in 1995, adding to its ranks several officers with strong backgrounds in counternarcotics intelligence. The unit opened new offices in three key chemical-trafficking regions and it has been given an increased role in auditing and investigating consumers of regulated chemicals.

In December 1995, Bolivia signed a chemical control agreement with the European Union to improve cooperation in the end-use verification of proposed transactions in regulated chemicals. Of more immediate significance, information sharing with Chile has led to vastly improved cooperation and the seizure of large amounts of chemicals heading towards Bolivia from Chilean ports.

Colombia Colombia is a party to the 1988 UN Convention and Colombia's public law 30 of 1986 and subsequent resolutions meet or exceed the provisions of the Convention. The list of regulated chemicals is more extensive than those in the Convention, and there are requirements for record keeping and reporting and import and export authorizations. The government has the authority to deny such authorizations.

Despite this, Colombia remains the world's largest producer of cocaine, indicating widespread evasion of the chemical control laws. With its limited chemical industry, the bulk of these chemicals come from abroad, either diverted after being legally imported or smuggled from neighboring countries. The government is seeking to strengthen cooperation with chemical source countries. In December 1995, the government signed a chemical control agreement with the European Union. It has an existing agreement with the U.S.

The essential element of these agreements is the exchange of information on proposed transactions in regulated chemicals to ensure their legitimate end-use prior to shipment from the exporting country. If legitimate end-use cannot be established, the shipment should not be authorized. Colombia does not now have a system to perform adequately end-use checks or other chemical control procedures.

The Colombian government's five-year national anti-narcotics plan recognizes this by including among its objectives, the following goals:

  • perfect the administrative control system for precursor and essential chemicals to hinder their diversion and smuggling,
  • establish technical mechanisms for identifying chemicals entering through ports,
  • quantify the legitimate chemical requirements of national industries, and
  • measure the quantity of chemicals entering the market from all sources.

Peru. Peruvian law satisfies the chemical control provisions of the 1988 UN Convention, to which the country is a party. Record keeping and reporting on the chemicals included in the Convention are required, a system of permits and declarations for imports and exports exists and the government has the authority to seize or suspend shipments. A 1992 government decree identified thirteen chemicals or categories of chemicals as subject to the controls applicable to cocaine processing and subject to the same penalties as trafficking in cocaine.

Since 1993, the agencies responsible for implementing Peruvian chemical control laws and regulations have cooperated in a single regulatory and enforcement unit. In 1995, the regulatory system covered effectively all licit activities in the Lima area. Plans are in process to extend regulatory jurisdiction through regional offices in other important cities, but institutional factors continue to constrain the government's ability to ensure compliance with chemical control laws throughout the national territory. Nevertheless, diminished availability and increased prices of coca essential chemicals, together with other enforcement activities, appears to have contributed to a severe reduction in earnings of coca framers who, as coca leaf processors, are the main consumers of essential chemicals.

The U.S. and Peru signed a chemical control agreement in 1990, which entered into force in 1992. Cooperation and information exchange under the agreement and in the normal course of law enforcement cooperation is excellent. In December 1995, Peru signed a chemical control agreement with the European Union.

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