Colombian navy seizes 225 kilos of cocaine
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – The Colombian navy confiscated 225 kilos (495 pounds) of cocaine on a boat carrying passengers on the Pacific Ocean and apprehended two people, the military said, as reported by Colombian newspapers El Espectador and La Vanguardia. The operations were performed by Coast Guard units from the Pacific Naval Force in the La Bocana region, near the Buenaventura port in the department of Valle del Cauca. The navy said in a statement that during a routine inspection, they found the narcotics hidden in the seats of the boat. This seizure comes almost a week after the discovery of 524 kilos (1,153 pounds) of cocaine and two kilos (4.4 pounds) of heroin on Colombia’s Pacific coast. The navy said the confiscated drugs have an estimated value of US$7 million on the black market. The suspected drug traffickers, the cocaine and the boat were handed over to prosecutors.
Colombian police arrest 33 suspected dealers of cocaine and marijuana
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Bogotá’s Metropolitan Police dismantled the “Gancho Blanco” network, considered the largest distributor of marijuana and cocaine in the Kennedy and Bosa neighborhoods in the southwestern part of the city, the police said in a statement. The criminal organization is suspected of trafficking drugs with a value of $16 million pesos (US$8,740) a day in the black market, which constitutes an average of $480 million pesos (US$262,223) a month. General César Augusto Pinzón Arana, commander of Bogotá’s Metropolitan Police, said gang leader Carlos Arturo Flórez Ramírez, alias “El Calvo,” is among the 33 arrested suspects. Officials dismantled 19 points of sale during the raid. The detainees were accused of trafficking, manufacturing and possessing narcotics, according to the police.
Brazil wants to help Bolivia fight illegal coca production
BRASILIA, Brazil – Collaboration between Bolivia and Brazil in the effort to eradicate illicit coca crops has fallen short due to the expansion of coca plantations in Bolivia, said Luiz Fernando Corrêa, general director of Brazil’s Federal Police. Corrêa spoke during a public hearing of the Constitution, Justice and Citizen Commission (CCJ) in the Congress, according to Brazil’s daily Folha de São Paulo. “The UN showed in its report [about drugs] that the area with coca plantations [during the Morales government] has increased,” Corrêa said. “At least two thirds or more than half the drug seized in Brazil comes from Bolivia.” In 2010, 57% of the cocaine seized in Brazil was produced in Bolivia. Corrêa said he acknowledges “cultural aspects” prevent the total eradication of coca in Bolivia, since the plant is sacred for the population, but he said an upcoming agreement between both countries aims at destroying all plantations used for drug trafficking.
Four injured after clash between coca crops producers and police in Peru
LIMA, Peru – Coca farmers and policemen clashed in the province of Padre Abad in the region of Ucayali on Aug. 3, when officials tried to break a roadblock set up by the coca producers, according to Reuters. Four were injured during the confrontation, according to media reports. CORAH (Control and Reduction of Coca Cultivation in Alto Huallaga), an organization seeking the eradication and substitution of coca crops, had resumed operations on Aug. 1 amidst protests from the coca producers who wanted CORAH to leave the area. Producers say the road block will continue, but officials have been negotiating with them to stop the demonstrations, which have been harming commerce and other services in the region.
Venezuelan authorities seize more than 175 pounds of cocaine on Chinese cargo ship
MARACAIBO, Venezuela – Officials seized 80 kilos (176 pounds) of cocaine hidden in a Chinese cargo ship, according to media reports. The Jin Yao, which docked at the Maracaibo port on Aug. 1, was being loaded with coal when National Guard officials discovered the drugs hidden in the ship’s steering compartment. Venezuelan officials arrested the 24 crew members, all Chinese nationals, 17 dock workers and three officers of the shipping company. The cargo ship came to Maracaibo from Spain and was headed to the Netherlands, where it was scheduled to deliver the coal, said Gen. Julio Yépez, commander of the National Guard stationed at the Maracaibo port. “This year, we have seized 37.5 tons of drugs,” Yépez said, as reported by the Venezuelan daily Panorama.
Honduran authorities incinerate cocaine seized in Venezuelan airplane
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Honduran officials incinerated 273 kilos (600 pounds) of cocaine on Aug. 2, according to the Honduran daily El Heraldo. The narcotics, valued at US$11 million on the black market, were seized inside a Venezuelan airplane that landed in the municipality of Brus Laguna on July 27. The pilots fled the scene and abandoned the plane. In 2009, more than 50 airplanes carrying drugs landed illegally in Honduras. Most of them came from Venezuela, according to media reports.