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Colombian Navy, Unrelenting Against Narcotrafficking in the Pacific and the Caribbean

Colombian Navy, Unrelenting Against Narcotrafficking in the Pacific and the Caribbean

By Yolima Dussán/Diálogo
November 27, 2020

The Colombian Navy seized 3.8 tons of narcotics in its territorial waters and shared information with partner nations to intercept 5 tons of drugs, in five operations carried out in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, September 22-30.

Units of the Buenaventura Coast Guard Station reported on September 30 that after several minutes of pursuit they caught up with a speedboat in Punta Ají, Valle del Cauca, with a Colombian and a Costa Rican national on board.

Service members from Colombia’s Buenaventura Coast Guard Station seized a speedboat carrying 1,142 kg of marijuana and 150 kg of cocaine, on September 30, 2020. (Photo: Colombian Navy)

“The bags, the vessel, and the individuals were transferred to the station pier, where [authorities] conducted the relevant test, yielding a positive result for 1,326 kilograms of marijuana,” official sources reported.

The Coast Guard office also reported on that same day intercepting another vessel, this one in Bocas de Cajambre, Valle del Cauca, where authorities found 1,142 kg of marijuana and 150 kg of cocaine.

Colombian Navy Lieutenant Commander Moisés Felipe Portilla, commander of the Buenaventura Coast Guard Station, told Diálogo that Central Americans are increasingly involved in maritime narcotrafficking.

“They leave from estuaries with Colombian people, who know how to get out, and with foreign people who know how to arrive at the destination,” Lt. Cmdr. Portilla said. “They arrive in the boats, enter the river’s mouth, get the cargo, and leave the same way. They do not enter the country legally.”

The Cartagena Coast Guard station reported on September 28 intercepting a speedboat in the Caribbean Sea, near Tierrabomba Island. Under pressure from the authorities, the crew crashed on the beach and abandoned the boat with 1,248 kg of cocaine hydrochloride on board.

International cooperation

During combined operations of cooperation against narcotrafficking, the Colombian Navy shared naval intelligence with the Costa Rican, Panamanian, and Mexican coast guards on September 22, which led to the detention of three vessels and one aircraft and the seizure of more than 5 tons of cocaine.

“The motorboats were intercepted in Quintana Roo [Mexico], Punta Mona, and Corcovado [both in Costa Rica]. In the boats, 3,710 kg of cocaine were found, and 10 individuals were captured,” Colombian authorities said in a statement. Also on September 22, a Colombian maritime patrol boat detected a suspicious aircraft flying over the Caribbean Sea. “[The crew] immediately activated the protocols and coordination with the Mexican authorities, who managed to locate and intercept the aircraft in Chiapas, Mexico. A Mexican and a Guatemalan national were flying the aircraft, which carried 1,358 kg of narcotics,” the Colombian Navy reported.

The operational results of the Buenaventura Coast Guard station show that the amount of seized marijuana is increasing. “The reason is that marijuana is much easier to produce, it doesn’t need as many inputs, and with the pandemic, movements [to produce cocaine] are much more restricted,” Lt. Cmdr. Portilla said. “What we have seen on the vessels is mixed cargo. Most of it, 90 percent, can be marijuana and 10 percent cocaine hydrochloride.”