July 26, 2007

Another type of harvest in La Mosquitia, Honduras

Drug trafficking, La Mosquitia, HondurasLa Mosquitia, Photo: La Prensa, Honduras

At first glance, you might think these Mosquitos (residents of the La Mosquitia area of Honduras) have to come to greet some successful fishermen on their catch of the day. But, no, the harvest in this case is drugs.

Drug boat, La Mosquitia, HondurasThose barrels contain cocaine. Some 200 Cauquira villagers are aiding and abetting the drug traffickers. Armed with machetes, they protested against the 15 armed Honduran naval personal who were almost lynched, according to La Prensa.

The police, military, and fiscales (district attorney's office) involved in the operation were only able to decommission 24 kilograms (53 lbs.) of the estimated 1,000-2,000 kilos of cocaine (1-2 tons). Nine local residents were detained. The narcotraffickers, suspected to be Colombian, escaped along with the rest of the drugs, hidden among the population .

According to police, "one way to survive in this isolated area is to unload drugs that come on boats and planes to be sold to distributors. It is common in these areas, far from the capital, that the people have dollars as if it was an industrialized city." Authorities say that the drugs are sent east and ultimately to the U.S. or Mexico.

These photos were taken on Friday, July 20, 2007, by a team from an unnamed US government agency invited by Honduran President Mel Zelaya to help Honduras stem the drug trade. La Mosquitia area is larger than the country of El Salvador and difficult to control because of logistics. Today's La Prensa editorial called for more backup from the U.S. to address this problem.

An update in yesterday's La Prensa states that the five crew members of the drug boat are still at large.

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