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The golden age of cocaine is happening right now

By Matthew Bristow

20 Dec 2022 · 9 min read

Editor's Note

The world is awash in cocaine like never before, with cartels using complex methods to move the drug around the world. Bloomberg reports from a Colombian coca farm, where the production chain begins.

The biggest cocaine boom in history has its origins outside towns like La Dorada, Colombia. Here, a few miles down a rutted track through the Amazon, cattle ranches and fish farms give way to endless fields of coca, the pale green shrub used for making the drug.

Apart from a few schoolteachers and occasional raids by the armed forces, the Colombian state barely exists beyond this point. To travel here, outsiders need permission from a much-feared drug cartel known as the Comandos de la Frontera, whose henchmen in military green T-shirts patrol the lanes in trucks and on motorbikes.

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