The Anti-narcotics Brigade of Chile’s Investigations Police (PDI, in Spanish), the Arica and Parinacota Regional Office of the Attorney General, and the Chilean Navy carried out a joint operation in late December 2021, resulting in the seizure of nearly 1,400 kilograms of creepy marijuana on the coast of the northern port city of Arica, the Navy said in a statement. According to the Chilean Ministry of Defense, Operation High Seas (Operación Altamar), facilitated one of the largest seizures of marijuana in the last three years.
Agents of the PDI’s anti-drug division had established that the drug was on a Peruvian vessel sailing past the coast of the city of Arica. The marijuana had been loaded at the Port of Paita, in Peru’s Piura department, to be delivered on the high seas off the Chilean coast, the Bio Bio Chile news site reported on December 28.
“This drug was originally from Colombia; then was transferred to Peru and was finally bound for the Metropolitan region in our country,” said Eduardo Flores, the PDI’s National Anti-narcotics and Organized Crime chief, Bio Bio Chile reported.
To successfully intercept and board the Peruvian ship, authorities deployed various assets from the Navy, such as elements of the Fourth Naval Zone’s Immediate Response Group and a naval exploration aircraft, the Navy said in a statement. On the ship, authorities found 40 bags containing 1,378 kg of marijuana.
In the operation, authorities apprehended six people, including three Peruvian nationals on the vessel and two Colombians in Arica who were in charge of storing the drug. “In addition, [authorities] learned the whereabouts of a sixth person of Colombian nationality in Santiago, who would act as a recipient of the drug,” Bio Bio Chile reported.
“This operation reflects the importance and commitment of the Navy to continue [its] coordinated and joint work with agencies and police to prevent organized crime from using our maritime spaces to carry out their illicit activities,” the Navy said.
Just weeks prior, in early December, yet another interagency effort had resulted in the seizure of 3,500 kg of marijuana in the Valparaíso region, as part of Operation Cerberus (Operación Cerbero), the Chilean Ministry of the Interior and Public Security indicated in a statement.
During a special session at the National Congress of Chile in early January 2022, Undersecretary of Defense Abel Weber said that “although narcotrafficking has grown in the country, […] we have increased the seizure of processed marijuana and synthetic drugs, among other illicit substances, which shows that the work being done by the police and the Navy has been improving and has been more effective.”