Bolivia approves downing of drug-smuggling planes

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Associated Press

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 23 at 8:04 PM

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — A new law in Bolivia authorizes the military to shoot down planes suspected of smuggling cocaine.

But the law signed Tuesday by President Evo Morales can't go into practice until Bolivia buys and installs radar systems at its borders. Morales says he's looking to buy six radars worth $90 million.

Bolivia is the world's No. 3 cocaine producer and has also become a key transit country for semi-refined cocaine from Peru, home of the biggest coca crop.

Officials say about six drug flights a day enter Bolivia from Peru. After processing, finished cocaine goes by land and air to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, police say. Much of it is destined for Europe.

The other Latin American countries with shootdown policies are Brazil, Colombia, Honduras and Venezuela.

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