Colombian Army dismantles 9 drug laboratories allegedly owned by FARC, ELN

By Dialogo
November 06, 2014



Soldiers with the Colombian National Army recently dismantled nine clandestine cocaine paste-producing laboratories in the northeastern department of North Santander.

Army officials suspect the labs were operated by two terrorist groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). Both groups use money generated by drug trafficking to purchase firearms and finance terrorist attacks against civilians, security forces, and infrastructure, including petroleum facilities.

In one operation, Army soldiers in North Santander department found a cocaine warehouse and four cocaine processing laboratories they suspect were operated by the FARC. From those facilities, they seized 3,125 kilograms of coca plant seeds, 1,385 kilograms of chopped coca leaves, 800 kilograms of fertilizer, 660 gallons of coca syrup, and 550 gallons of coca leaves.

That same operation uncovered in Santander department a seedbed with 10,000 coca plants suspected of belonging to the ELN. In a second operation, soldiers destroyed five laboratories in North Santander also, which they also suspect belong to the ELN.

North Santander has become a focal point for cocaine production by terrorist and criminal organizations in recent years; they used about 6,345 hectares of the region to grow coca plants in 2013. But as a consequence of successful anti-drug operations targeting that region in particular as well as other countries, Colombian security forces have reduced overall coca leaf production by 25 percent, according to the World Drug Report 2014 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The two recent counter-narcotics operations are just the latest in series of successes by the Army. For example, in the Department of Guaviare, soldiers destroyed 674,000 coca plants on October 26. And in recent months, Army troops with the elite Rapid Deployment Force (FUDRA) destroyed a six-hectare coca leaf plantation in the Department of Meta. Army officials suspect the FARC’s Eastern Bloc operated that plantation. Troops also eradicated a plantation in Meta municipality of Vista Hermosa. Overall, between January 1 and late October, FUDRA forces destroyed 264 hectares of illegal plantations and seized more than 8,000 gallons of cocaine-making ingredients.


Soldiers with the Colombian National Army recently dismantled nine clandestine cocaine paste-producing laboratories in the northeastern department of North Santander.

Army officials suspect the labs were operated by two terrorist groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). Both groups use money generated by drug trafficking to purchase firearms and finance terrorist attacks against civilians, security forces, and infrastructure, including petroleum facilities.

In one operation, Army soldiers in North Santander department found a cocaine warehouse and four cocaine processing laboratories they suspect were operated by the FARC. From those facilities, they seized 3,125 kilograms of coca plant seeds, 1,385 kilograms of chopped coca leaves, 800 kilograms of fertilizer, 660 gallons of coca syrup, and 550 gallons of coca leaves.

That same operation uncovered in Santander department a seedbed with 10,000 coca plants suspected of belonging to the ELN. In a second operation, soldiers destroyed five laboratories in North Santander also, which they also suspect belong to the ELN.

North Santander has become a focal point for cocaine production by terrorist and criminal organizations in recent years; they used about 6,345 hectares of the region to grow coca plants in 2013. But as a consequence of successful anti-drug operations targeting that region in particular as well as other countries, Colombian security forces have reduced overall coca leaf production by 25 percent, according to the World Drug Report 2014 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The two recent counter-narcotics operations are just the latest in series of successes by the Army. For example, in the Department of Guaviare, soldiers destroyed 674,000 coca plants on October 26. And in recent months, Army troops with the elite Rapid Deployment Force (FUDRA) destroyed a six-hectare coca leaf plantation in the Department of Meta. Army officials suspect the FARC’s Eastern Bloc operated that plantation. Troops also eradicated a plantation in Meta municipality of Vista Hermosa. Overall, between January 1 and late October, FUDRA forces destroyed 264 hectares of illegal plantations and seized more than 8,000 gallons of cocaine-making ingredients.
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