The Colombian Navy dealt hard blows to narcotrafficking, leading several combined operations with forces from the region, which resulted in the seizure of more than 4 tons of cocaine hydrochloride on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and the Pacific coast of Colombia.
The mid-March operations among the Colombian Navy, Costa Rica’s National Coast Guard, and U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-South) once again demonstrated the importance of interoperability in the fight against transnational criminal organizations.
“The Colombian Navy sustains a shared effort in the fight against narcotrafficking with different institutions and countries around the world,” Colombian Navy Captain Ibis Manuel Luna Forbes, commander of Anti-Narcotics Task Force No.73 Neptune, told Diálogo. “JIATF-South is one of its most important strategic allies for the planning, execution, and consolidation of operations against this scourge. JIATF-South contributes directly with the Colombian Navy in a combined work that allows detecting, monitoring, and disrupting criminal operations linked to narcotrafficking and related crimes, which constitute a global threat.”
In the first operation, the Colombian Navy coordinated with the Costa Rican Coast Guard and JIATF-South to intercept two speedboats in Costa Rican waters, resulting in the seizure of 2,072 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride. Authorities interdicted one boat, crewed by a Colombian and a Venezuelan, in the area of Tortuguero, Costa Rica, while the second boat, crewed by three Costa Ricans, was located five nautical miles off Bocas del Rio, Vizcaya, also in Costa Rica.
“The two shipments were transported aboard speedboats or Go Fast type boats, which narcotrafficking organizations use most to transport illicit substances in the Caribbean, with 25 events registered so far in 2023,” Capt. Luna said.
Meanwhile, off the Pacific coast of Colombia, the Navy, with the support of a JIATF-South unit, interdicted a semisubmersible some 15 meters long, which carried 2,643 kg of cocaine hydrochloride. Two of the four men who manned the vessel were found dead due to the inhalation of toxic fumes emitted by the fuel, the Navy said in a statement.
So far in 2023 [up to April 4], the Caribbean Naval Force seized more than 37.2 tons of cocaine hydrochloride and 1,621 kg of marijuana through joint and combined operations.
“All this outstanding work combined with the will of steel of our men to protect our jurisdictional waters in the Caribbean Sea, has allowed us to deal a resounding blow to the finances of the groups dedicated to illicit drug trafficking and their logistics support, who have lost more than $1.2 billion,” Capt. Luna said.
During the first quarter of 2023, the Colombian Navy seized more than 100 tons of narcotics, the institution said via Twitter.