Colombian and Spanish authorities captured 12 individuals accused of receiving cocaine shipments in Europe during a military operation carried out in early February 2022. The detainees — six Colombians, four Spaniards, a Belgian, and a Moroccan — are alleged members of the criminal group Jaime Martínez Structure, a dissident faction of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, in Spanish), the Colombian Military Forces’ General Command said in a statement.
Troops of the Colombian Army, the Colombian Air Force, and personnel from the Colombian Office of the Attorney General, led the operation, with the support of the Spanish National Court’s Anti-drug Office of the Prosecutor.
The operation took place in Madrid and consisted of three phases, in which Colombian military troops of the Magdalena Military Gaula, with support from the 3rd Military Intelligence Battalion and Spanish authorities, captured the criminals, who authorities say were responsible for receiving drug shipments from South America to market them in cities of Spain and France. The detainees will face charges of drug trafficking, manufacturing, or possession.
During the operation, authorities also seized 751 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride and thousands of euros in cash, equivalent to nearly $100,000.
This action is part of the relations of cooperation between Spain and Colombia in the fight against narcotrafficking, which the countries are strengthening. “We met with Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gómez, Spain’s Minister of the Interior, to share experiences in terms of citizen security, the fight against transnational crime, and training and education of the public force,” Colombian Minister of Defense Diego Molano said via Twitter, concerning the Spanish minister’s February 16 visit to Colombia.
During his visit, Grande-Marlaska pledged to expand cooperation in the fight against narcotrafficking to include environmental crimes, considering that coca leaf crops spur indiscriminate logging and that the use of precursors for cocaine hydrochloride production saturates the soil and pollutes waterways, the Spanish newspaper El País reported.
“We are deepening cooperation on various issues, and today we’ve talked mainly about that cooperation in security matters; the mutual backing in confronting not only organized crime, but also all those networks of human trafficking, migrant trafficking, narcotrafficking of course, sharing experiences,” Colombian Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez said after meeting with Grande-Marlaska. “Also, sharing technology, information, matters relating to cybersecurity — in this regard, Spain is very advanced, and that cooperation is very important to us as well, because all that a country’s foreign policy does is strengthen its relationship on strategic issues with strategic allies.”