Fifth Phase of Orion International Naval Campaign to Combat Drug Trafficking Begins

Fifth Phase of Orion International Naval Campaign to Combat Drug Trafficking Begins

By Colombian Ministry of Defense
April 27, 2020

On April 1, as part of the fight against the worldwide illicit drug problem, Colombia and 25 nations of the Americas and Europe initiated the fifth phase of the Orion International Naval Campaign to Combat Drug Trafficking. The campaign has been held in the region since 2018.

The campaign consists of multilateral operations that combine efforts and capabilities of 51 national and international institutions and agencies, committed to disrupting narcotrafficking and related crimes by sea and river, through information exchange that allows these nations to strengthen their capabilities for illicit drug interdiction.

This effort integrates the multimodal interdiction capabilities of more than 40 maritime and river surface units, 20 air units, and more than 60 interdiction speedboats from the nations involved.

Colombia, an international benchmark in the fight against this problem, participates through its Navy, which coordinates the operation with the Army, Air Force, National Police, Financial Information and Analysis Unit, and the Office of the Attorney General.

Prior results to Orion’s fifth phase
Before the Orion International Naval Campaign to Combat Drug Trafficking’s fifth phase started, 17 countries, including Colombia, developed a strategic partnership under international cooperation agreements to maintain the offensive against narcotrafficking in the region during the first months of 2020.

This preliminary phase integrated the capabilities of more than 20 agencies and institutions from Colombia, Costa Rica, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, and the United States.

In the first three months of 2020, authorities seized more than 130.6 tons of cocaine hydrochloride, equivalent to 326.7 million doses valued at $4.4 billion, which represented 129,167 acres of illicit crops. The results for marijuana seizures were 15.4 tons, representing 38.5 million doses, with an estimated $77 million value.

In this same period, authorities intercepted 12 semisubmersibles and 57 vessels, and arrested 174 people of different nationalities. The arrest and seizures substantially affect the narcotrafficking chain, significantly prevent drug consumption, and decrease the supply, representing a key contribution to the countries’ safety and public health.

With its participation and leadership in the Orion International Naval Campaign to Combat Drug Trafficking, Colombia reaffirms its commitment to work together to counter this scourge to improve regional interoperability, strengthen trust and multimodal maritime and riverine interdiction, join the international effort, and dismantle narcotrafficking networks, among other objectives.