Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Cocaine Paste Haul Signals Mexico Gangs Are Opening Labs

The interception in Colombia of a plane carrying almost half a metric ton of coca paste bound for Mexico is a sign Mexican drug cartels are switching from importers to manufacturers, according to Colombian police.

Authorities intercepted 490 kilos (1,080 pounds) of the paste, an unrefined form of the drug made by farmers, on a plane at an airport in southern Colombia Jan. 30 as it was preparing to take off. The capture was the first of its kind, and means that at least one Mexican gang has set up a factory capable of turning the paste into cocaine that can be sold in the U.S., according to General Ricardo Restrepo, head of the Colombian police’s counter-narcotics unit.