Cocaine production is booming again in Colombia and the resurgent cartels are behind roughly 90 percent of cocaine flooding onto U.S. streets.
Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration say traffickers are smuggling more cocaine into South Florida than officials have seen since 2007. The coca crop is flourishing in Colombia after a decade of decline. Officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection said cocaine seizures in Florida totaled 9,500 pounds in 2015, a 61 percent increase over the previous year, reports NBC Miami.
Experts say due to the rapid spike in Colombian cocaine production, the full effects of the boom have yet to hit American shores. Cocaine fatalities are on a steady rise, claiming 1,834 lives in Florida between 2012 and 2015, surpassed only by deaths from fentanyl, an opiate based painkiller 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
Coca cultivation is back to dominating the agricultural market in Colombia. Production today even eclipses the cocaine output of Pablo Escobar’s infamous Medellin Cartel. Roughly 460,000 acres of coca is currently planted throughout the country, producing 710 metric tons of cocaine in 2015, up from only 235 metric tons of output in 2013.