FILE - In this March 3, 2017 file photo, workers harvest coca leaves in Puerto Bello, in the southern Colombia's state of Putumayo. A new White House report released Monday, June 25, 2018 finds that cultivation of the plant used to make cocaine has reached an all-time high in Colombia. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara, File)

US report: Colombia coca production surges to record high

June 25, 2018 - 2:04 pm

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A new White House report finds that cultivation of the plant used to make cocaine has reached an all-time high in Colombia.

Annual data released Monday indicates Colombia's coca cultivation increased 11 percent to 209,000 hectares (807 square miles) in 2017.

Deputy Director Jim Carroll with the White House drug policy office said, "The steep upward trajectory is unacceptable."

Colombia is a one of the top U.S. allies in Latin America, but the boom in coca production has tested relations between the two nations.

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to decertify Colombia last year as a partner in the war on drugs if it failed to reverse the surge in production.

Colombia's rising coca numbers comes as cocaine use and overdose deaths in the United States continue to dramatically increase.

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