Colombian Army Captures Alleged High-ranking Clan Úsuga Leader

By Dialogo
March 06, 2015



The Colombian National Army teamed with the Judicial Investigation Directorate's Sectional Criminal Investigation unit (SIJIN) of the Police in the Department of Bolívar to capture the suspected leader of Clan Úsuga’s 'Heroes of the South Bloc', the Army reported on its website on March 2.

The Second Brigade’s No. 4 Mechanized Infantry General Antonio Nariño Battalion and SIJIN officers captured the suspect in the Department of Bolívar, capping 15 days of Military operations in the area. The alleged Clan Úsuga leader is suspected of homicide, extortion, and theft in the municipalities of Achi, Montecristo, and Tiquisio in southern Bolívar.

“The Nariño Battalion will continue its territorial control operations to provide the residents of the 14 municipalities in southern Bolívar that are in the Battalion’s jurisdiction with the tranquility they have longed for,” said Army Lieutenant Colonel David Navia, the commander of battalion.

Clan Úsuga is one of Colombia’s largest narcotrafficking organizations and is involved in selling narcotics to the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas, two Mexican transnational criminal organizations who traffic drugs through Central America and into the United States. Nearly 90 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States comes through Mexico and Central America, according to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board.

Bolivia’s FELCN seizes about 27 tons of ground coca leaves bound for Lebanon


Bolivia’s Special Counter Narcotics Force (FELCN) have seized about 27 tons of ground cocaine leaves camouflaged to look like packages of yerba mate tea leaves.

FELCN agents seized the coca leaves on February 27 in a residence in the Department of Santa Cruz. Law enforcement officers also arrested two Bolivians in connection with the incident. They estimated the value of the seized leaves at $350,000; however, the leaves could have produced 100 kilograms of cocaine worth up to $90 million, according to Bolivian Government Minister Hugo Moldiz.

The seizure is reportedly the first time Bolivian security forces have confiscated coca leaves that drug traffickers were going to ship abroad. Law enforcement authorities suspect that drug traffickers planned on sending the packages to Chile and then on to Lebanon.

Ground coca leaves look very similar to yerba mate, and the suspects tried to take advantage of that by taking packages containing yerba mate leaves and stems, removing the contents, and then replacing them with ground coca leaves.

“This generates better profits because it requires minimum capital and profitability is high,” Moldiz said. “This demonstrates the renovating methodologies used by drug traffickers to circumvent drug control forces.”

Bolivia allows coca leaves to be grown legally in limited amounts. Coca leaves are used legally to make tea, medicine, and in certain foods, as well as in Andean religious rites. However, the only major purpose for shredded coca leaves is to prepare them to be turned into cocaine.


The Colombian National Army teamed with the Judicial Investigation Directorate's Sectional Criminal Investigation unit (SIJIN) of the Police in the Department of Bolívar to capture the suspected leader of Clan Úsuga’s 'Heroes of the South Bloc', the Army reported on its website on March 2.

The Second Brigade’s No. 4 Mechanized Infantry General Antonio Nariño Battalion and SIJIN officers captured the suspect in the Department of Bolívar, capping 15 days of Military operations in the area. The alleged Clan Úsuga leader is suspected of homicide, extortion, and theft in the municipalities of Achi, Montecristo, and Tiquisio in southern Bolívar.

“The Nariño Battalion will continue its territorial control operations to provide the residents of the 14 municipalities in southern Bolívar that are in the Battalion’s jurisdiction with the tranquility they have longed for,” said Army Lieutenant Colonel David Navia, the commander of battalion.

Clan Úsuga is one of Colombia’s largest narcotrafficking organizations and is involved in selling narcotics to the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas, two Mexican transnational criminal organizations who traffic drugs through Central America and into the United States. Nearly 90 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States comes through Mexico and Central America, according to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board.

Bolivia’s FELCN seizes about 27 tons of ground coca leaves bound for Lebanon


Bolivia’s Special Counter Narcotics Force (FELCN) have seized about 27 tons of ground cocaine leaves camouflaged to look like packages of yerba mate tea leaves.

FELCN agents seized the coca leaves on February 27 in a residence in the Department of Santa Cruz. Law enforcement officers also arrested two Bolivians in connection with the incident. They estimated the value of the seized leaves at $350,000; however, the leaves could have produced 100 kilograms of cocaine worth up to $90 million, according to Bolivian Government Minister Hugo Moldiz.

The seizure is reportedly the first time Bolivian security forces have confiscated coca leaves that drug traffickers were going to ship abroad. Law enforcement authorities suspect that drug traffickers planned on sending the packages to Chile and then on to Lebanon.

Ground coca leaves look very similar to yerba mate, and the suspects tried to take advantage of that by taking packages containing yerba mate leaves and stems, removing the contents, and then replacing them with ground coca leaves.

“This generates better profits because it requires minimum capital and profitability is high,” Moldiz said. “This demonstrates the renovating methodologies used by drug traffickers to circumvent drug control forces.”

Bolivia allows coca leaves to be grown legally in limited amounts. Coca leaves are used legally to make tea, medicine, and in certain foods, as well as in Andean religious rites. However, the only major purpose for shredded coca leaves is to prepare them to be turned into cocaine.
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