The Colombian Military Forces, in a Navy-led operation, dismantled a transnational narcotrafficking organization that sent large drug shipments to Central America and Mexico from the Colombian Pacific coast, the naval institution said in late August.
“We were able to capture and prosecute 12 alleged members of the criminal group, who apparently had links with Mexican cartels to finance, process, and ship the illicit stash,” María Elena Monsalve Idrobo, specialized director against narcotrafficking of the Colombian Attorney General’s Office, told the press. “According to the investigation, they acquired the narcotic substance in laboratories in Bajo Calima, Valle del Cauca, and in Sipí, Chocó, and apparently contacted boatmen and paid them to take the narcotics in fishing boats that traveled along the coast of Bajo San Juan in the Pacific, coordinating their departure to international destinations in go-fast boats.”
The organization had the capacity to trade up to 3 tons of cocaine hydrochloride per month. “This organization operated under the leadership of alias Coronel and alias Willy, so that the drugs would be stockpiled in Bajo Baudó, received in Mexico and Costa Rica, and subsequently sent to the United States,” Colombian Marine Corps Coronel José Domingo Cantillo, second-in-command and chief of Staff of the 2nd Marine Infantry Brigade, told Diálogo. Both alleged leaders were captured a week after this operation, the Navy said in a statement.
“Navy Intelligence, the Attorney General’s Office and the Technical Investigation Corps [division of the Attorney General’s Office] conducted the intelligence work,” Col. Cantillo added.
In the course of the investigation, authorities seized nearly 1 ton of cocaine hydrochloride from this organization and captured five of its alleged transporters in the act. “Among those captured are Ramiro Eduardo Piñeros Camargo, alias Ramiro, in charge of coordinating the logistics of sending the drug, as well as receiving the money coming from Mexico. We also have Jorge Armando Montalva Duarte, alias Mono, accused of being the link between the criminal organization and the Mexican cartels that finance the illicit activity, and also [accused of] receiving money from the illicit product,” Prosecutor Monsalve said.
Another person captured is alias Henry, who was allegedly recruiting people and who was also in charge of financing drug shipments abroad. Likewise, alias Jair, considered to be alias Mono’s right-hand man, was seemingly in charge of guarding collection points for loading and shipping the drugs to different countries, according to the Navy’s statement.
The naval institution fight against narcotrafficking has been met with success.
“The Colombian Navy’s Pacific Naval Force has made 138 arrests for narcotrafficking as of August 31, 2022, and during 2021, recorded a total of 237 arrests for this same crime,” Col. Cantillo concluded.