Honduran authorities seized over one million coca plants, a nursery with two million coca seedlings, and facilities for processing cocaine in a protected forest reserve in the eastern part of the country on Friday, according to the National Police.
In a statement, the National Police reported that during the operation, “the location and seizure of coca bushes in an area of 120 acres [84 hectares] was achieved, which consisted of approximately one million 80 thousand plants.” Additionally, “four rustic structures used for the extraction of alkaloids from the coca leaf and for the storage of chemical inputs, as well as two million seedlings in a nursery,” were secured.
The operation, which was supported by three helicopters, took place in the Patuca National Park, a protected area that has suffered severe environmental damage. The authorities will subsequently carry out the necessary procedures “for their eradication, according to the processes established by law,” and this involves incinerating the plants and facilities.
Honduras has been identified as a cocaine transit country since the 1970s, as drug cartels transport the drug from South American producing countries to the United States market. However, since 2017, authorities have begun seizing small coca plantations. President Xiomara Castro, who took office in January 2022, has pledged to combat drug cartels, which according to US judicial authorities, involved former President Juan Orlando Hernández in the crime.
Hernández was extradited to New York in April 2022 after being accused of sending 500 tons of cocaine to the United States between 2004 and 2022. He faces the possibility of a life sentence, as happened to his brother Tony in March 2021.
The seizure of more than one million coca plants and a nursery with two million coca seedlings in Honduras is a significant step forward in the fight against drug trafficking. Drug trafficking is a complex problem that is not easy to solve, but authorities are working hard to combat it. This operation is one of many that will be necessary to eliminate the cultivation, processing, and distribution of drugs in Honduras and the surrounding regions.
Drug trafficking is a source of instability in the region, leading to violence, corruption, and the destruction of the environment. While it is necessary to address the root causes of drug trafficking, including poverty, unemployment, and social exclusion, it is also necessary to take decisive action against drug trafficking organizations. This operation demonstrates that the Honduran authorities are committed to this fight.
It is essential to continue supporting the efforts of the Honduran authorities to eradicate drug trafficking in the country. This includes providing assistance in areas such as law enforcement, judicial reform, and environmental protection. Only by working together can we hope to overcome the challenges posed by drug trafficking and build a safer, more prosperous future for the people of Honduras and the region.