Carabiniers director Gustavo Gonzalez

The head of Chile's national anti-narcotics police has been removed from his position and over 100 cases of possible police corruption investigated following the arrests of four officers on drug trafficking charges, demonstrating Chile's tough stance on corruption compared to neighboring countries.

On November 27, Gustavo Gonzalez, the national director of the Carabineros -- Chile's national police -- ordered the reassignment of anti-drug chief Colonel Carlos Hidalgo, reported EFE. Hidalgo was removed from his position with the OS-7, Chile's anti-narcotics units, and transferred to the unit in charge of missing persons and vehicles.

The replacement came a day after the arrest of four Carabineros officers in the northern region of Arica. The four, among them the regional OS-7 director, stand accused of orchestrating the passage of multiple drug consignments totaling more than one ton of marijuana from Bolivia into Chile.

Following the arrests, the Arica attorney general's office opened an investigation into more than 100 cases that could potentially uncover links between officers and drug trafficking, reported La Tercera.

InSight Crime Analysis

Along with Uruguay, Chile ranks as the least corrupt nation in Latin America, according to Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index. However, with the country's increasing role in the transnational drug trade -- with drugs moved from Peru and Bolivia both to feed the large domestic market and for export -- corruption is likely to become a growing issue.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Chile

In this context, the Chilean authorities' swift reaction is a positive sign, demonstrating a willingness to take decisive action and a determination not to allow drug trafficking to erode public institutions. This stands in stark contrast to other countries around the region, where the involvement of security forces in drug trafficking is frequently tolerated or ignored, and in many places is not even an impediment to rising through the ranks and continuing a successful career.

If Chile can effectively halt the spread of corruption, then it greatly increases the chances of new security initiatives stemming the flow of drugs, making it far more likely it can continue to be a relative haven from the drug-related violence plaguing much of the region. 

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Prev Next

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.