Latin America: most cocaine trade profits stay in the US

Some 85% of the gross profits from trafficking cocaine from South America to the US remain with US distribution networks, Antonio Luigi Mazzitelli, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) representative for Mexico and Central America, told the Spanish wire service EFE on June 26.

According to Mazzitelli, gross profits from trafficking to the US came to about $35 billion in 2008. The growers in the Andean region got some $500 million, while $400 million went to the local traffickers. The Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, which transport the cocaine from South America to the US, made some $4.6 billion in gross profits in 2008. Of the remaining $29.5 billion, $5.3 billion went to the 200 major distributors in the US and $24.2 billion to 6,000 US intermediaries and an unknown number of small-scale vendors.

Mazzitelli said that these figures, which appear in the UNODC’s World Drug Report 2010, released on June 23, “demythologize” the idea that the Latin American drug traffickers are the main beneficiaries of the drug trade. (El Diario-La Prensa, NY, June 27 from EFE; El Colombiano, Antioquia, Colombia, June 26, from EFE)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, June 27.

See our last post on politics of cocaine.