Colombian National Police Makes Massive Cocaine Seizure

By Dialogo
June 09, 2016

Without a doubt, the recent seizure of 9.3 tons of cocaine has been one of the most forceful blows that the Colombian National Police has struck against organized crime in years.

The successful operation was conducted on May 15th, a few meters from the mouth of the Currulao River on a banana farm in Urabá, Antioquia, along Colombia’s Caribbean coast. It prevented millions of doses of the drug from hitting the streets of partner nations.

This was a high-level operation, as police infiltrated the ranks of the Úsuga Clan, an international drug trafficking organization that has had 510 members captured by the Colombian Police.

Authorities received information that drug trafficker Roberto Vargas Gutiérrez, known in the criminal underworld as "Gavilán," and for whom the Colombian government is offering millions in reward for his capture, had stored several shipments of narcotics from different parts of the country at a farm. The drugs belonged to at least nine groups that supply cocaine to Clan Úsuga.

Night after night, the drugs arrived camouflaged in a truck loaded with vegetables. On each trip, they transported between 100 and 250 kilograms of high-purity cocaine that was deposited in a coaster boat that was 6.5 meters long by 3.5 meters wide, with a depth of 2.5 meters and had a wood-lined interior.

The final operation

Once complete information was received, authorities began the final operation. Officers from the Search Block and the Drug Enforcement Bureau, with support from the Aviation Police, laid siege to the farm in Nuevo Colón in the jurisdiction of Turbo, Antioquia.

The final action got underway at 6 am on May 15th, when 50 National Police Commandos, supported by two Black Hawk helicopters, converged on the banana farm and located an ancient newsstand. Upon removing the concrete cap, they discovered 359 duffel bags full of high-purity cocaine.

After weighing all of the contraband, authorities established that the cargo weighed 9,355 kilos and was valued at over $250 million. It was to be shipped across the Caribbean Sea towards Central America before reaching the United States.

Moreover, next to the house on the Currulao River, there was a tender ready to initiate the process of shipping the drugs to the Caribbean Sea. The tender was located a few meters from the coaster boat.

Largest seizure

The seizure, which Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas called the largest in history, has become a new victory by the Colombian National Police in its fight against the scourge of drugs.

The police action was part of a 100-day, national offensive against different aspects of organized crime that was ordered last February, when General Jorge Hernando Nieto Rojas assumed command as the new director general of the Colombian National Police.

The results are striking: more than 116 tons of narcotics have been seized in this period. All of this has occurred within the framework of the Institutional Strategic Plan aimed at building safe and peaceful communities and working on four basic fronts: consolidation of police services in the field, bolstering citizen security, optimization of criminal investigations, and reinvigoration of international cooperation.

All of this work is being performed under five guiding principles: humanism, integrity, discipline, innovation, and management, with the final goal of building a secure and peaceful Colombia.