Colombia Strengthens the Fight Against Narcotics and Dissidents
By Yolima Dussán/Diálogo March 30, 2021
Colombian security forces conducted operations February 7-19, 2021, impacting narcotrafficking organizations in the Caribbean coast, and especially in the Pacific area, where there is a high concentration of drug production. The 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment, which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration published on March 2, 2021, indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic did not reduce cocaine trafficking and supply to the United States, and that “91 percent of the cocaine seized in the United States and tested by the CSP [Cocaine Signature Program] is of Colombian origin.”
On February 19, the Colombian Office of the Attorney General announced the capture of 150 people and the seizure of more than 9 tons of narcotics. This result followed 17 days of search and raid operations in Valle del Cauca, Cauca, and Nariño departments. “[Authorities] hit three large organizations linked to cocaine and marijuana shipments from the Pacific to international markets, as well as microtrafficking networks,” the Office of the Attorney General reported, adding that those affected were the transnational groups Punto Fijo, Sol, and Nava, which were identified by their activities throughout the narcotrafficking chain.
In another operation, on February 18, the Colombian National Police (PNC, in Spanish) blocked a shipment of 6,332 rectangular sheets from leaving Barranquilla Port for the Netherlands. Authorities found the sheets in more than 5,000 boxes, containing 304 kilograms of cocaine. The shipment was located inside a refrigerated cargo hold for fruit.
On February 12, the Colombian Navy reported intercepting two speedboats carrying 1,102 kg of drugs. Authorities launched the operation when the Colombian Air Force (FAC, in Spanish) detected a suspicious vessel at night. Service members with the Buenaventura Coast Guard Station intercepted the motorboat, with a crew of one Colombian and two Costa Ricans on board, and found 827 kg of marijuana, in addition to 2,000 liters of fuel, communication equipment, and geolocators. Hours later, the FAC detected a second boat with a two-person crew, where the Buenaventura Coast Guard agents found 275 kg of cocaine in a false-bottom.
On February 11, the Colombian Military Forces destroyed a rustic lab for drug production in Tumaco. Colombian Army Brigadier General Nayro Javier Martínez, commander of the Hercules Joint Stabilization and Consolidation Task Force, said that they found 1,058 kg of cocaine, 420 kg of coca base paste, 400 kg of solid chemical precursors, and almost 14,000 liters of liquid chemical precursors that belonged to the criminal group Los Contadores.
On February 7, the PNC focused their operations in the Riosucio municipality, Chocó department, where they neutralized Nelson Hurtado, alias Marihuano, the right-hand man of alias Otoniel, head of the Clan del Golfo, considered Colombia’s largest narcotrafficking group.
The PNC reported that alias Marihuano had coordinated the monthly shipment of 6 tons of cocaine to Central America and Europe. “Thanks to turf wars that the Clan del Golfo is waging for narcotrafficking rule, many of its members have began to come forward with information. The neutralization of alias Marihuano was a result of this information,” General Jorge Luis Vargas, head of the PNC, said on YouTube.