11 Shocking Facts About Colombia's $10 Billion Drug Industry

colombia drug warPacks of cocaine stand piled up

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Colombia remains the world’s biggest cocaine producer despite the government crackdown on drugs.The drug trade is worth $10 billion each year — more than any country except for Afghanistan.

Although drug money accounts for around 1% of GDP, down from 6% in the 1980s, this decline is due to the growth of Colombia’s legal economy.

Moreover, experts say that Colombian traffickers under the microscope have rerouted the drug trade through Mexico, and have increasingly formed allies wih thin Colombia’s government which has made figures harder to report.

We’ve picked out some incredible facts about Colombia’s drug economy.

Colombia is the world's largest cocaine producer and accounted for 43% of global coca cultivation in 2009

Colombia's drug trade is worth $10 billion — one quarter as much as the country's legal exports

Although drug money accounts for less of Columbia's economy (1%) than Afghanistan's (30%), both countries export around $10 billion yearly

Colombian and Mexican drug cartels made $4.6 billion in profits from exporting to the US

Colombia's defence spending has gone up to $12 billion since it began its crackdown on drugs — that's about three times the defence budget of average South American countries

68,000 hectares of land were used for illegal coca bush cultivation in 2009. That's the size of about 153,000 football fields

Colombia produced 410 metric tons of cocaine in 2010, which is about twice the weight of a blue whale

Nearly 90% of cocaine used in the U.S. originates in Colombia

Colombian groups controlled cocaine and heroin distribution channels in 40 American cities, mostly in the north-east in 2008

Source: Mother Jones

Gross wholesale drug sales in the US generate as much as $38 billion for Mexican and Colombian drug trafficking organisations in 2009. That's more than Google's global revenue for the year

Source: Mother Jones

Since 2001, the U.S. has spent about $6 billion to help fund Colombia's crackdown on drugs and Marxist guerrillas — that's more than the budget for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Now look at how Brazil has been fighting crime in its favelas...

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