Eleven Colombians are currently awaiting the death penalty in China for trafficking cocaine into the East Asian nation, highlighting the its increased importance as a market for cocaine.
According to the Ombudsman of Colombia’s central city of Manizales, five of the detained are from Colombia’s coffee region and the rest from the northwestern Antioquia and southwestern Valle del Cauca departments.
Colombia’s National Federation of Ombudsmen is currently working to make sure that China pardons the Colombians.
The arrests highlight China’s growing importance as a market for cocaine. According to CNN, the current street price for a gram of cocaine in China is $50, down from $150 a gram a few years ago, indicating increased accessibility. Although the traditional center of drug trafficking to China has been the former British colony of Hong Kong, reports indicate increased accessibility of cocaine in mainland China as well.
“There’s more cocaine available, so the price is dropping,” a narcotics expert told CNN.
In July 2012, Chinese customs reported the seizure of 1,430 ounces of cocaine worth some $98 million, making it one of the biggest cocaine busts in Chinese history.