Bolivian Anti-Drug Forces Warn They will Fire at Will in the Chapare

Opinión, Cochabamba, 10 August, 2010: The director of the Bolivian Special Anti-Narcotics Forces (FELCN), Coronel Félix Molina, confirmed yesterday that anti-narcotics officers will shoot point blank at any drug traffickers that operate in the Chapare region (of Cochabamba, Bolivia). This decision was made after a group of drug traffickers, surprised by anti-drug trafficking officers, shot against the police in Puerto Gretel, located in the Chapare, a few days ago.


?Events like these concern us. Drug traffickers are opening fire against our patrol officers, who are left no choice but to respond in like manner,? he said, while noting that drug traffickers are now much more adept and violent.

He reported that on August 5th, FELCN patrol officers were making rounds of the Puerto Gretel region and intercepted a vehicle in which more than 115 kilograms of cocaine paste were found. They detained one person but two drug traffickers got away. Upon returning from the location, the patrol officers were ambushed by part of a drug trafficking clan who, in order to prevent the officers from taking the drugs, opened fire on them. The ensuing armed confrontation resulted in injuries to one of the delinquents.

On the day following the ambush, another patrol again entered the area and intercepted a second vehicle, confiscating more than 9 kilograms of cocaine. Once again the drug traffickers, upon being discovered, opened fire against the officers. During this confrontation one of the drug traffickers was injured and taken to a FELCN health center.

He stated that these are not international cartels, but clans of drug traffickers who use these coca production zones, in this case the Chapare, Bolivia?s drug trafficking hot spot, to prepare drugs that are later sold along the Brazilian border.

?Drug traffickers don?t hesitate to open fire upon police officers. Now our officers have been instructed to open fire and will not be held responsible for the results,? he warned.

Read this Article in Spanish

Source: Opinión
Date: 10-Aug-2010

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In a related article published in Los Tiempos, Cochabamba, 10 August, 2010::

"...In response to this announcement the Defensoría del Pueblo (Ombudsman) and the Permanent Human Rights Assembly expressed their concern at the possibility that individual rights be violated, although they admitted that anti-drug officers have the right to defend themselves if they are attacked..."

Read this full article in Spanish here

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