Chinese Drug Traffickers Set Up Shop in Belt and Road Chile

A worker wearing protective gear trims a plant at the Pideka SAS medical cannabis cultivation facility in Tocancipa, Colombia, on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Pideka, which was purchased by Ikanik Farms to become part of it's international pharmaceutical division, is a vertically integrated medical cannabis grower and the only licensed …
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A Chinese drug trafficking syndicate known as the “Bang de Fujian” has been building a high-tech indoor marijuana cultivating empire in Chile since at least 2020, multiple news reports in the country confirmed this week, citing the Investigations Police of Chile (PDI).

The news of drug lords from across the planet establishing a base in the South American country follows growing alarm regarding crime in the country generally that began after far-left rioters began burning down churches, public transit stations, and historical sites in the capital, Santiago, in 2019. While the rioters claimed to be protesting a proposed transit fare hike in the capital, a local councilman in the area at the time told Breitbart New that unknown criminal elements were offering, food, alcohol, and drugs to people in exchange for engaging in violence and destruction, suggesting an organization level beyond grassroots protesting.

A report broadcast Tuesday by the Chilevisión network showcased footage of vast hidden cannabis cultivation centers, using specialized equipment to grow the plants without sunlight in sites that would not arouse law enforcement suspicion. The “Bang de Fujian,” named after the southeast province across the sea from Taiwan, is reportedly run by a woman that police say they have yet to identify by name but suspect may not be in Chile.

The PDI anti-narcotics division first arrested four individuals tied to the syndicate in 2020 and slowly built a case that has unearthed a massive intercontinental operation. Notably, the Fujian crew reportedly attempted to go out of its way not to attract attention – selling small amounts, avoiding major purchases in Chile, and not engaging in any major acts of violence.

Drug trafficking investigation leader Subprefect Marcelo Atala told Chilevision that the indoor facilities for growing cannabis the group used were also extremely inconspicuous. Describing one of them to the network, he said, “it specially conditioned so that, in plain sight, it would look like a warehouse storing boxes of merchandise.”

The first arrest of anyone involved with the “Bang de Fujian” reportedly occurred in 2020. Atala said that the potential involvement of a Chinese national “caught our attention profoundly, therefore we started analyzing some actions to establish what this was about.”

Prior to investigations unearthing major operations in Chile, Chilevisión reported, the Bang de Fujian was active in Spain, maintaining 13 indoor marijuana cultivating facilities that also served as hubs for human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

In Chile, the members of the gang reportedly attempted to hide their operations by presenting themselves as the owners of legitimate businesses.

“They are not tied to acts of violence, but instead stick to the world of commerce,” prosecutor Yans Escobar told the Chilean outlet La Tercera last week. “They tend to maintain a closed circle and in some cases are owners of established businesses, like importers.”

The group appeared to cultivate the drugs within Chile, however, not ship them in from abroad.

The report indicated that police believe the leaders of the group to be in China, but did not clarify if the Communist Party is cooperating with Chilean law enforcement authorities. Chile approved an extradition agreement with China in 2018.

Police partially shutting down the Bang de Fujian, though not yet capturing its leaders, is a much-needed law enforcement victory amid mounting cases of rampant crime – particularly violent crimes like robberies, carjackings, and other assaults. The situation has become so severe that two separate cases of violent muggings occurred in the past week on live television. In one case, a guest being interviewed on a Zoom broadcast – in the middle of a public street, during the day – had the phone they were using for the broadcast stolen and received a beating from five assailants. In the other case, a cameraman was beaten and robbed while filming a reporter engaging in a daytime street report on the strengthening value of the U.S. dollar.

Boric has repeatedly urged criminals to stop engaging in crime and announced that he would seek a “total prohibition” on private gun ownership in the country. During a visit to Canada in June, Boric called for an international ban on guns.

“We have to promote international legislation. Hopefully, an awareness will be generated, beyond our borders, that the possession of firearms is bad for societies,” Boric said during a meeting with far-left Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, applauding Trudeau for severely restricting gun rights in his country.

The discovery of Chinese drug traffickers organizing in the country follows years of multiple Chilean presidents, who have varied in ideology from far-left to socialist to “center-right,” seeking deeper economic and political ties to China. Chile is a member of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) global infrastructure debt trap scheme and relied heavily on China for ineffective Chinese coronavirus vaccines, prompting large outbreaks after citizens who believed themselves to be protected by the vaccines resumed gathering with each other. Chinese media enthusiastically celebrated the election of current far-left President Gabriel Boric last year and Boric, on his end, has not acted to disturb major Chinese investments in copper mines and other major industries in the country.

The two presidents before Boric, socialist Michelle Bachelet and “center-right” Sebastián Piñera, both invested significant time and energy in increasing Chinese influence in Chile.

“We want to transform Chile into a true business center for Chinese companies. So that you can, from Chile, also reach all of Latin America,” Piñera said during a visit to Beijing in 2019.

Bachelet, who signed large trade deals with China in her term prior to Piñera’s final one, is currently the United Nations high commissioner for human rights. In that capacity, she traveled to China in May to allegedly investigate the well-documented genocide the Communist Party is conducting against Muslim ethnic groups in the country. Rather than condemning the genocide, Bachelet praised communist dictator Xi Jinping for China’s alleged “tremendous” progress on human rights and claimed that the concentration camps Xi built, believed to house as many as 3 million people at their peak, had been dismantled.

The U.N. has yet to release a formal report on her visit at press time and Bachelet announced she would not seek a second term in the office following global condemnation of her work.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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