Colombia’s largest wholesaler is Bogota’s drug entry point: NGO

Most drugs and arms in Bogota enter through Colombia’s biggest agricultural wholesale distributor, according to a study by an NGO.

Corabastos, one of the most important agricultural wholesalers in Latin America, is the epicenter of illicit goods handled by criminal gangs in the city according to the study titled “Markets of Criminality in Bogota,” by the NGO Nuevo Arco Iris.

Claudia Lopez, a political scientist who participated in the study, said “Through Corabastos the majority of Bogota’s drugs enter and from there are distributed. Arms too.”

Olga Lucia Velasquez, Secretary of the Bogota government said they arrange meetings between the board of directors of Corabastos and the Ministry of Agriculture to establish better ways to secure and control the zone, reported Caracol Radio Monday.

Corabastos, located in Kennedy in the west of the city, has 30 large storage warehouses, 29 trading areas and 1600 retail premises.

The criminal activities with the highest rates in Bogota are contract killings, smuggling of illegal goods, high-end prostitution, money laundering, informal security or vigilance services which turn into sources of extortion, and micro-trafficking of drugs which earns dealers $165 million a year.

According to all the research and analysis of the investigation, Bogota is turning into a “mega-city,” in which criminals use of the size and population density as a form of camouflage.

The book’s authors also state that a large part of the day-to-day crime in the city is caused by small-time independent criminals who then “liquidate” their illicit earnings in the illegal markets.

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