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UN: Bolivia's coca crop down 2nd straight year

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August 5, 2013 04:36 PM EST | AP

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LA PAZ, Bolivia — The United Nations says Bolivian land under coca cultivation is down for a second straight year, dropping 7 percent from 2011-2012 after a 12 percent decline the previous year.

It says Bolivia grows 17 percent of the crop that produces cocaine, with 98 square miles (25,300 hectares) under cultivation. Bolivia is No. 3 in cocaine production after Colombia and Peru.

U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime Bolivia director Antonino De Leo credited the coca growers unions for the drop as he released the figures Monday with President Evo Morales.

Morales expelled the DEA in 2008 and says Bolivia is better off without U.S. counter-drug assistance.

U.S. officials say that Bolivia is a key transit country for Peruvian cocaine and that the DEA's departure weakened Bolivia's ability to combat drug gangs.