Colombian Navy Intercepts More Than a Half-Ton of Cocaine in the Pacific
By Myriam Ortega/Diálogo July 20, 2020
On the night of June 3, units of the Colombian Navy’s Coast Guard Station Buenaventura intercepted a type of go-fast boat speeding in the Pacific along the coast of the Valle del Cauca department. After a 30-minute chase and with the support of the ARC Corvette Nariño and a Colombian Air Force aircraft from the 7th Combat Air Command, authorities intercepted the vessel, manned by three Colombians, which carried 556.7 kilograms of cocaine on board.
“The Colombian Navy received naval intelligence about a narcotrafficking event that was about to happen in the Central Pacific, specifically in the sector of Punta Ajicito,” Colombian Navy Rear Admiral Hernando Mattos Dager, commander of the 72nd Poseidon Task Force against Narcorafficking, told Diálogo.
“Thanks to intelligence, we know that this shipment was bound for Central America, more specifically Costa Rica, and if this drug had reached the international black market, we are talking about a street market value of around $18 million that we prevented from reaching criminal groups’ coffers.”
In addition to the half-ton of cocaine, the authorities seized a 9mm pistol and ammunition, foreign currencies, communications equipment, and 500 gallons of gasoline, the Colombian Defense Ministry said in a statement. While it was not specified to which criminal group the drug belonged, Rear Adm. Mattos said that Structure 30, a dissident group of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, operates in that area.
Authorities transferred the crew, the vessel, and the drug to the Buenaventura Coast Guard Station’s pier, where they followed the government’s sanitary protocols to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The detainees will be brought to justice to face charges of manufacture, distribution, or possession of drugs, among others, the Navy said.
“This interdiction means that [between January and early June 2020] the Colombian Navy in the Pacific coast of Colombia seized more than 69 tons of narcotics, thanks to its strategic partnership with the countries in the region,” said Rear Adm. Mattos. “That is about 60 tons of cocaine and around 9 tons of marijuana. So far, we have seized 13 semisubmersibles and arrested 54 people for narcotrafficking crimes in the Pacific.”