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Argentine federal police stage major drug raids

April 9, 2014

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina’s government made a huge show of force against drug trafficking on Wednesday, sending more than 3,000 federal agents to raid 82 more “bunkers” in and around the port city of Rosario, where the death toll is soaring from a bloody turf war.

The raids by federal police, Border Patrol, Coast Guard and Airport Security police focused on the slums known as “misery villages” that surround Argentina’s leading port city, where contraband frequently mixes with legitimate cargo bound for Europe and the rest of the world.

Security Minister Sergio Berni called it the biggest drug trafficking crackdown in Argentine history, and said it’s aimed at bringing peace to a city that’s being compared to Medellin, Colombia, for its drug gang warfare.

Santa Fe Gov. Antonio Bonfatti said the raids mark “a before and an after” in Rosario, which used to be known more for its soy exports than for cocaine, crack and marijuana smuggling.

The security ministry said that once the drug gangs are broken apart and its members are in jail, federal forces will remain for several months in an effort to “pacify” slums now controlled by traffickers.