|03TEGUCIGALPA2266||2003-09-24 20:14:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Tegucigalpa|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
1. On September 16 President Maduro met with Colombian
President Alvaro Uribe in Cartagena, Colombia to discuss
better coordination between the two nations' counterdrug
efforts. Honduras is a major transshipment zone for illicit
narcotics making their way north from Colombia to U.S.
shores, although drug use is growing rapidly within Honduras.
This year, Honduras has experienced an alarming increase in
illicit air-tracks, many of which originate from Colombia.
2. According to Honduran press reports, President Uribe
assured Maduro that recent interdiction efforts coordinated
with the USG should have a significant impact on the amount
of illicit air-tracks originating from Colombia. (NOTE:
Ostensibly, Uribe was referring to Colombia's new air bridge
denial shoot-down policy. END NOTE) Uribe also indicated to
Maduro that Colombia would increase counterdrug coordination
with Honduras, but according to Minister of Defense Federico
Breve, the details are yet to be worked out. (COMMENT: We
understand from GOH officials this exchange was the first
discussion of such cooperation between the two governments.
3. In the interim, two more drug traffickers were arrested
September 20 near the Copan ruins in possession of eleven
kilos of cocaine, which police discovered hidden in the gas
tank of one of the suspect's vehicles. Both suspects (Ilder
Mejia and Wilmer Orlando Tabora) are Guatemalan citizens.
Also confiscated were three cellular phones, a 45-caliber
pistol, and some USD 1,940 in Honduran currency.
4. Honduran Frontier Police also made their first drug
seizure at the INL funded Container Freight Tracking System
(CFTS) facility in Pavana which opened this April. A routine
search of a passenger bus which originated from Costa Rica
yielded nine kilos of cocaine, dispersed among three Honduran
passengers. The INL Canine Unit alerted police to the
presence of the drugs.