Heroin Trafficking and Seizures in the Americas

"Opium and heroin produced in Latin America, most notably in Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala, is primarily destined for the United States market and, to a lesser extent, for local markets in Latin America. Exports from Latin America to other regions are still the exception; only Ecuador reported some small seizures of heroin in 2015 that were bound for Spain. Heroin seized in Canada originates mostly in South-West Asia.

"Reported quantities of heroin and morphine seized in North America increased by over 80 per cent in the last five years, from 4.4 tons in 2010 to 8 tons in 2015. In 2015, the proportion of heroin and morphine seizures linked to Latin American opiate production thus reached 10 per cent of the global total of heroin and morphine seizures. This went hand in hand with a reported heroin epidemic in the United States, where there has been a sharp increase in heroin-related deaths in recent years (booklet 2). According to the Heroin Signature Program of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the United States, from the beginning of the new millennium to 2010 the bulk of the heroin in the United States market originated in Colombia, but that proportion subsequently declined as the proportion of heroin originating in Mexico increased, reaching a proportion of 79 per cent of all heroin samples analysed in 2014, with most of the rest originating in Colombia and only 1 per cent in South-West Asia (i.e., Afghanistan).7 There is, however, still a significant regional difference in the origin of heroin supplied to the United States market: almost all of the heroin found in cities in the western United States is of Mexican origin, while the bulk of heroin found in cities in the eastern United States still originates in South America (mainly Colombia).8"


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug Report 2017 (ISBN: 978-92-1-148291-1, eISBN: 978-92-1-060623-3, United Nations publication, Sales No. E.17.XI.6), p. 21.