Sunday, February 27, 2011

A former commander of Bolivia's anti-narcotics police force has been arrested in Panama on charges of drugs trafficking

Gen Rene Sanabria has been transferred to the United States to face trial. Bolivia has arrested three other senior police officers suspected of helping him smuggle cocaine. Gen Sanabria was head of Bolivia's anti-drug agency until 2009, and was still working as an intelligence adviser to the government. Bolivian Interior Minister Sacha Llorenti said Gen Sanabria was suspected of traveling to Panama to organize further shipments of cocaine, after dispatching 317lbs of the drug in November 2010. The arrest is an embarrassment for the government of Bolivian President Evo Morales, which has been defending itself from allegations that it is not doing enough to stop the production and export of cocaine. In 2008 President Evo Morales expelled the US Drug Enforcement Agency from Bolivia, accusing it of supporting opposition movements. Along with Venezuela and Burma, Bolivia is on a list of countries that are failing to meet their obligations under international counter narcotics agreements. After Peru and Colombia, Bolivia is the world's third largest producer of coca - the raw material for cocaine. President Morales is himself a former coca grower.

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