Colombian Military Forces Destroy Mega Cocaine Lab in Tumaco
By Myriam Ortega/Diálogo April 09, 2021
The Colombian Military Forces found a mega lab consisting of seven structures used for cocaine production, in a rural area of Tumaco municipality, Nariño department, the Colombian Navy’s Pacific Naval Force reported in mid-February. This serious blow against narcotrafficking affects the finances of Los Contadores, a dissident group of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia that engages in narcotrafficking, illegal mining, arms trafficking, extortion, and kidnapping in the Pacific coast of Colombia, the statement said.
“Guided by naval intelligence, units of the 40th Marine Infantry Battalion and the [Colombian] National Army’s 4th Counternarcotics Battalion arrived at a complex where more than 2 tons of cocaine were produced per month,” Colombian Army Brigadier General Nayro Javier Martínez Jiménez, commander of the Hercules Joint Stabilization and Consolidation Task Force, told the press. “In this complex, the troops found 1,058 kilograms of cocaine, 420 kg of coca base paste, 400 kg of solid chemical precursors, and 3,024 gallons [11,447 liters] of liquid chemical precursors.”
During the operation, authorities also seized various equipment for drug production, such as an artesanal distiller, eight microwave ovens, a compressor, a drying system with light bulbs, a hydraulic press, and a power generator. Service members destroyed the mega lab, equipment, drugs, and chemical precursors in a controlled manner, under strict safety standards for the preservation of the environment, the Pacific Naval Force said.
On February 22, at the conclusion of an extraordinary Security Council meeting in Tumaco that delved into the violence of criminal groups Oliver Sinisterra and Los Contadores, which operate in the region, Colombian Minister of Defense Diego Molano said that Nariño department has 36,000 hectares of illicit crops, “9,796 [hectares] of which are in Tumaco municipality, with the potential to produce 75 tons of cocaine annually.”
During his speech, Molano urged the community to provide information leading to the capture and prosecution of leaders from both criminal groups. According to the minister, authorities are offering up to $54,800 for information leading to the capture of alias El Gringo, leader of Oliver Sinisterra, and alias Mario 40, leader of Los Contadores; in addition to up to $27,400 for information leading to the capture of alias Albeiro, from Oliver Sinisterra, and alias Uriel, from Los Contadores.
“It is worth noting that the Military Forces have arrested 54 members of organized armed groups this year,” Molano concluded. “[They have also managed] the destruction of 384 improvised explosive devices, [and] the seizure of 61 long and short-range weapons […].”