The rapid expansion of coca leaf plantations in Mexico’s southwestern state of Guerrero is the latest indication that criminal groups are experimenting with coca production in the mountainous area, which was once infamous for heroin poppy cultivation.
In the municipality of Atoyac de Álvarez, the area where most coca plants have been found in Guerrero, 70 coca-growing plots were discovered in 2022, up from just seven in 2021, General Rolando Solano Rivera told a press conference on December 13. No details were given as to the total quantity of coca seized.
Seven of these plantations as well as a drug processing laboratory were found in Atoyac de Álvarez between November 22 and December 4.
The amount of coca being grown in Guerrero has increased rapidly. The first such discovery in the state occurred in February 2021, when authorities eradicated six fields of coca crops in Atoyac de Álvarez. At the time, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said criminal groups were “experimenting with coca cultivation.”
Guerrero, formerly known for its poppy production, the base ingredient for making heroin, has now become a hub of Mexico’s limited coca production. The 70 plantations eradicated this year make it the leader in coca cultivation, ahead of Chiapas, the southern state where coca fields were first discovered in 2014.
Source: Sur Acapulco