The Colombian Military Forces are keeping up their offensive against narcotrafficking and organized crime. As such, in mid-September, during two operations carried out in the Pacific coast of Colombia, troops of the Colombian Army and Navy seized nearly 3 tons of cocaine hydrochloride belonging to criminal group Clan del Golfo and a dissident group of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
During the first operation, carried out in the municipality of Suárez, Cauca department, Army units located a drug processing laboratory and found more than 1,500 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride and 250 kilograms of coca base paste, the Army said in a statement. “At this location we found 1,511 kg of this drug, which belonged to the residual organized armed group Jaime Martínez,” Colombian Army Brigadier General Raul Vargas Idarraga, commander of the Third Division, told the press.
In addition to the drugs, the lab contained 1,855 liters of liquid chemical precursors, more than 1,400 kg of solid chemical precursors, 500 kg of coca leaf, and several equipment to process the drug, the Army said. The complex, the Army added, had the capacity to produce 10 tons of cocaine hydrochloride and 1 ton of coca base paste per month.
So far in 2022, as of October 12, the Army has dealt several blows to the Jaime Martínez criminal group in Cauca department with the seizure of 1,709 kg of cocaine, 1,321 kg of coca base paste, 622 kg of marijuana, and the destruction of five laboratories that belonged to the group. Authorities also captured 60 members of the FARC dissident group and seized 76 weapons and ammunition of different calibers, the Army’s Third Division told Diálogo in a statement.
In the mangroves
The Colombian Navy carried out the second operation in the coast of the municipality of Juradó, Chocó department. “In a naval operation with intelligence from the Navy, with the participation of the Army, […] we were able to hinder multi-crime structures, especially the Clan del Golfo, with the seizure of about 1,450 kg of cocaine hydrochloride,” Colombian Navy Rear Admiral Carlos Alberto Serrano Guzmán, commander of the Pacific Naval Force, told the press.
The cocaine was hidden in the mangroves. “In this case we were able to hinder the Clan del Golfo, preventing them from cashing in $50 million, which is the value of the stash,” Rear Adm. Serrano said.
In 2022, up to early October, the Colombian Navy has seized more than 15 tons of drugs belonging to the Clan del Golfo in the Pacific coast of Colombia, the naval force indicated.
In an interview with Reuters on October 10, Colombian Defense Minister Iván Velázquez emphasized that security forces will continue to carry out the necessary actions to crack down on narcotrafficking alongside plans to advance negotiations with guerrilla groups, such as FARC dissidents and the National Liberation Army. Velázquez added that the United States will continue to be Colombia’s main ally in the fight against narcotrafficking.