Drug Smugglers Wreaking Havoc on Guatemalan Protected Areas


Photo credit: Hector Tobar/ LAT

Criminal mafias have long been associated with environmental destruction in countries around the world including Mexico and Liberia. A recent story in Los Angeles Times reveals that narcotraficantes, or drug traffickers, are clearing land in protected areas in Guatemala's Peten region, an area known for its exquisite biodiversity and ecological wealth.

According to the report, this region is also prized by smugglers for its proximity to the weakly guarded border with Mexico and for the swamps and dense forest undergrowth that help them beat the legal authorities who can only scramble to keep up.

Meanwhile the "narco cattle ranches" and "narco communities" are destroying the habitat of spider monkeys, jaguars, river turtles and numerous other flora and fauna. The "farmers" level the mahogany and tropical cedar trees with power saws, and then set fire to the underbrush, the Times reports.

The cleared land is also used for clandestine airstrips to land small planes loaded with cocaine which is then trucked through Mexico and across the border to US consumers.:: Via Los Angeles Times

Tags: Biodiversity | Guatemala | Latin America

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