According to U.S. government estimates, Colombia produced 710 metric tons of cocaine in 2016, compared to 235 in 2013.
Colombia is experiencing the largest boom in cocaine history with more than 460,000 acres of land covered with coca plants, more than when Pablo Escobar and the Medellin Cartel dominated the drug trade, The Washington Post reported.
The cocaine boom is in large part the result of the peace accord signed in November 2016 between the Colombian government and the far-left Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which is listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization. The deal ends a 52-year long war with the guerrillas agreeing to quit the drug business and help farmers switch to legal crops.
“But the cash benefits available through the peace deal appear to have created a perverse incentive for farmers to stuff their fields with as many illegal plants as possible,” The Washington Post noted.
“We’ve never seen anything like it before,” Luis Carlos Villegas, Colombia’s defense minister said.
Deaths from cocaine overdoses are at a 10-year high in the United States, and the number of young people who are experimenting with the drug is skyrocketing. Between 2013 and 2015, the number of young Americans who tried cocaine for the first time rose by 61 percent, the Portland Press Herald reported.
Colombian government agencies, in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), have already seized 115 metric tons of cocaine in 2017.
The cocaine produced in Colombia then is delivered to Mexico where cartels attempt to smuggle the product north.
Ryan Saavedra is a contributor for Breitbart Texas and can be found on Twitter at @RealSaavedra.