Colombian, Guatemalan Armed Forces Neutralize Narco-plane Coming from Venezuela
By Juan Delgado/Diálogo September 30, 2020
In late July, The Colombian Air Force (FAC, in Spanish), during a combined operation with the Guatemalan Air Force and Army, neutralized a light aircraft coming from Venezuela carrying more than 2 tons of cocaine. According to an August 6 press release from the FAC, the aircraft was intercepted in Petén department, Guatemala.
“As a result of the combined operation, 2,107 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride were seized,” the FAC said in the statement.
The operation was carried out on the night of July 25, when the FAC’s National Air Defense System detected an illicit flight over the Caribbean Sea. FAC airplanes immediately took off to intercept the aircraft and block its entry into Colombian airspace, the FAC stated. The aircraft was forced to change course, while the information was shared with the Guatemalan Air Force in order to move the combined operation forward and capture the aircraft, which finally landed in Guatemala.
The aircraft, according to the FAC’s statement, had begun its itinerary in Mexico, then stopped in Venezuela, and was attempting to return to Central America.
In early July, a similar incident happened in Mexico, when Mexican security forces neutralized an aircraft carrying an illegal shipment that made an emergency landing on a road in Quintana Roo state. According to the Venezuelan news site Primer Informe, the jet was coming from Maracaibo, Venezuela.
The Mexican Defense Department said in a press release that a truck was intercepted near the aircraft with about 390 kg of cocaine, “presumably coming from the illicit aircraft.”
The FAC’s 3rd Air Combat Command, responsible for safeguarding the airspace of the departments on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, has achieved notable results so far in 2020, the FAC said in a report published on August 21.
“During 2020, despite the pandemic, it has been possible to consolidate important results during joint and coordinated operations, with a total of 104 captures, the seizure of 51,328 kg of cocaine hydrochloride and 1,796 [kg] of marijuana, weakening these illicit economies that are the main source of other illegal activities in the region,” the FAC said.
In an interview with the Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre on August 21, Colonel Juan Carlos de Paz, Guatemalan Army spokesperson, said that the Army had seized 7,349 kg of drugs so far in 2020. The officer added that authorities had disabled 15 clandestine airstrips and secured 23 aircraft.