Argentina is a transshipment corridor for cocaine flowing from Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia and a source country for precursor chemicals used by neighboring countries for cocaine production. . The Government of Argentina (GOA) in 2008 closed a loophole that had permitted Argentina’s pharmacies to import large quantities ephedrine that were subsequently diverted to Mexico for methamphetamine production. Consumption of narcotics, especially marijuana, and cocaine HCl is a problem. Use of “paco” (cocaine paste – a crude by-product of cocaine HCl production) is a particular problem in impoverished neighborhoods. Structural inefficiencies in Argentina’s judicial system and occasionally poor communication and cooperation among law enforcement entities hamper Argentina’s efforts to deal effectively with narcotics-based criminal activity.
The cornerstone of the U.S. Government's (USG) law enforcement support, with INL funding and DEA expertise is the Northern Border Task Force (NBTF), a joint law enforcement group comprising federal and provincial elements operating in Argentina’s northwestern provinces of Jujuy and Salta to interdict the drug flow from Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. It remains one of the most effective and successful counternarcotics activities in Argentina. In 2007, DEA and GOA law enforcement agencies created the Eastern Border Task Force (EBTF), modeled after the NBTF and focused on the illicit drug smuggling activities in the tri-border area with Paraguay and Brazil. Other USG-supported efforts include training law enforcement agencies and military components with interdiction responsibilities, as well as technical assistance to enable GOA authorities to counter financial and intellectual property crimes.