Analysis of cocaine trafficking in South America

The overall impact of the cocaine market on South American societies

13th of October 2022

Latin America is currently an essential center for drug trafficking in the transnational market, making cocaine the backbone of the subcontinent. 

Coca leaf production, the distribution to consolidated markets such as North America and Europe, and the increase in consumption in Latin America over the last decade have strengthened the presence and power of the criminal networks present in these countries.

The drug trafficking market cannot be understood locally, nationally or even regionally, as it is configured as a global and transnational market. Moreover, organized crime groups are not only involved in drug trafficking, but also engage in multiple illicit activities such as human trafficking, arms trafficking and extortion, among others.

Through seizures, the main source of information to understand the presence of cocaine in the region, we can contemplate which are the main arteries of this market from which it is organized regionally and globally.

Since 2015, seizures have experienced a historic increase, due to the increased production of coca leaf and the increase in hectares under cultivation, among other factors. Therefore, all illegal markets have a multiplier effect and a systemic increase in armed violence, generating more disputes over territories and more social fear.

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