Colombian Forces Seize a Semisubmersible and a Narco-lab in 1 Day
By Myriam Ortega/Diálogo October 28, 2020
During a joint operation in late August, the Colombian Navy, Army, and National Police intercepted a semisubmersible that was carrying more than 1 ton of cocaine hydrochloride off the Pacific coast of the Nariño department. On the same day, in the Tumaco municipality of the same department, security forces found a narco-lab with almost 1.5 tons of cocaine hydrochloride, the Colombian Military Forces’ General Command (CGFM, in Spanish) said in a press release.
“They [the Police] learned about a semisubmersible naval artifact […] that was heading for the Mexican coast; immediately, an intelligence aircraft and units of the [Navy’s] Coast Guard began the search for this artifact, finding it 47 miles off the coast,” Colombian Navy Rear Admiral Hernando Enrique Mattos Dager, commander of the 72nd Poseidon Task Force Against Narcotrafficking, told Diálogo.
Navy units found 26 packages containing 1,030 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride aboard the semisubmersible, which was manned by three Ecuadorean nationals, the CGFM reported.
From January 1 to August 31, the Navy seized 27 semisubmersibles in the Pacific coast of Colombia, Rear Adm. Mattos said, adding that they found more than 30 tons of cocaine hydrochloride on board.
The operation in which service members found a narco-lab with nine rustic facilities, and a production capacity of 1 ton of cocaine hydrochloride per week, took place simultaneously, the CGFM said. “That was a joint operation where both Army and Navy troops entered, some by the river and others by helicopter, to the site of the lab for the production of the final stage, which is cocaine hydrochloride,” Rear Adm. Mattos said.
In a jungle area, authorities found 1,496 kg of cocaine hydrochloride and 658 kg of coca base paste, as well as other elements to produce the drug, the CGFM reported in a press release.
“We found a large amount of liquid and solid chemical supplies, but most importantly, the product obtained in the final stage of cocaine hydrochloride production, where it only needed to finish the drying process in the microwave and the pressing [process], which are the last two phases,” Rear Adm. Mattos said.
The facilities affected by these operations, the officer said, belong to the 30 and Oliver Sinisterra groups, both dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
In late August, the Colombian Navy led an operation that resulted in the interception of a semisubmersible carrying more than 1 ton of cocaine hydrochloride off the Pacific coast of Colombia. (Photo: Colombian Navy)