Colombia Disrupts Drug Trafficking, Destroys Labs

Colombia Disrupts Drug Trafficking, Destroys Labs

By Yolima Dussán/Diálogo
March 12, 2021

The Colombian Armed Forces reported the interception and seizure of three vessels loaded with drugs, the destruction of 13 coca base paste labs, and the discovery of an open marijuana warehouse, in various areas of the country, January 15-22.

On January 22, in the Guainía department, 25 kilometers off the Venezuelan border, Colombian Navy service members noticed a suspicious vessel that was submerged below the 30 centimeters allowed. During inspection, authorities found that the vessel was carrying drugs in a false-bottom.

On January 22, 2021, in the Guainía department, the Colombian Navy seized 614 kilograms of marijuana from the false-bottom of a boat. (Photo: Colombian Navy)

After opening the boat’s hull, they found 614 kilograms of packaged marijuana, the Office of the Attorney General indicated, adding that “the illicit cargo was bound for Venezuela.”

The previous day, on January 21, the Armed Forces found a warehouse in the Amazona department that stored 1,600 kg of marijuana, already packaged, “which were bound for Peru and Brazil,” the Colombian Military Forces’ General Command (CGFM, in Spanish) reported on its website.

That same day, the CGFM also reported the destruction of 12 labs used for coca base paste processing. The operation, conducted jointly with members of the Office of the Attorney General, was carried out simultaneously on the banks of the Putumayo, Caquetá, Meta, and Guaviare rivers. The operation resulted with the seizure of more than 6,363 liters of liquid chemical precursors, 1,632 kg of solid chemical precursors, and 555 kg of coca leaves.

Authorities dealt another blow to the criminal groups ORBI and Clan del Golfo on January 19 in the Antioquia department. The National Police reported finding and destroying a lab (and prosecuting its holders), which could produce 2 tons of cocaine per month.

Colombian Police Major General Herman Alejandro Bustamante, Antinarcotics director, told the press that agents seized 419 kg of cocaine hydrochloride and 80 kg of cocaine base from the lab and captured nine narcotraffickers on the scene.

On January 17, the Caribbean Naval Force announced the seizure of 500 kg of cocaine aboard a Singapore-flagged merchant ship in Colombia Bay in Turbo, Antioquia.

The Colombian Navy reported that “thanks to the Civic Participation Network, which reported the presence of stowaways on the boat, the Urabá Coast Guard Station and the Port Control Anti-Narcotics Company inspected the merchant ship that was bound for Costa Rica.”

On January 15, after a four-hour chase onopen waters, Coast Guard Corps service members intercepted a motorboat 80 nautical miles from the Tumaco Port.

Colombian Navy Rear Admiral José David Espitia Jiménez told the press that the vessel, with a crew of three, was transporting narcotics from the Pacific coast to Central American shores. He noted that the stash, “that included 835 kg of marijuana and 8 kg of cocaine, was to be marketed in Central America.”