The Colombian Armed Forces seized 8 tons of drugs in several maritime and land operations, impacting the finances of criminals in the region.
On August 21, the Colombian Military Forces’ General Command (CGFM, in Spanish) reported that authorities had detained a member of the National Liberation Army guerilla, who was transporting 700 kilograms of marijuana in a truck, in the Santa Rosalía region, Vichada. That same day, the Army seized 982 kg of marijuana from the criminal armed group Sixth Structure, in the Morales municipality, in Cauca.
On August 19, security forces reported three operations. In the first one, the Air Force and the Army found two drug processing labs belonging to the Clan del Golfo, in the Cumbitara and Leiva municipalities, Nariño department. Authorities seized a total of 3.3 tons of cocaine hydrochloride, liquid and solid chemical precursors, machinery, and ovens.
In the second operation, service members found two underground warehouses in La Guajira containing 1,250 kg of marijuana. The seized shipment was allegedly bound for islands of the Caribbean and Central America, the National Police reported.
In the third seizure, the Colombian Navy found a handmade semisubmersible in the Pacific Ocean, in the Punta Ají sector, Valle del Cauca, carrying 843.8 kg of cocaine, the CGFM said.
“Unfortunately, the Pacific is one of the crown jewels for narcotraffickers, because of the geographical advantages they get for drug production and shipment,” Colombian President Iván Duque told the Colombian newspaper El País. “They want to control the crops and drug routes from Venezuela.”
In another operation in the Tame municipality, Arauca department, service members found 941 kg of marijuana in a tractor truck. The drug was believed to be bound for Venezuela, the Office of the Attorney General said. Authorities detained one person in the operation.
The flow of cocaine from Colombia to Venezuela is mainly carried out by air and through rivers that cross shared borders and flow into the Maracaibo Lake and the Orinoco River, according to the report The Replacement of Colombian Networks by Venezuelan Ones in International Border Drug Trafficking, published by the Spanish think tank Elcano Royal Institute. “It is estimated that about 400 to 450 tons of cocaine cross this border every year,” the report says.
On August 24, the Colombian Ministry of Defense announced the creation of the Command Against Drug Trafficking and Transnational Threats. The elite group will consolidate the Army’s air assault capabilities to increase special interdiction and security operations against narcotrafficking and organized armed groups and their illicit economies, the Ministry said.