The Colombian Navy’s Caribbean Naval Force (FNC) recently presented its results for 2022 in the areas of security and development. These included the seizure of more than 153 tons of narcotics; the capture of 1,198 members of different criminal groups, among them 10 leaders; and the execution of 64 search and rescue and 59 evacuation operations.
“With international cooperation and help the FNC managed to seize more than 153 tons of cocaine hydrochloride that were bound for international black markets,” Colombian Navy Vice Admiral Hernando Mattos Dager, FNC commander, told the press. These operations were carried out with the Colombian Military Forces, coordinated with the National Police and partner nations’ authorities in support of the fight against transnational narcotrafficking organizations, the Colombian Navy said in a statement.
For these operations, the FNC had the support of Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Panama, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, among other countries.
Authorities, in their efforts to protect the flora and fauna of Colombia’s Caribbean coast, recovered 299 wildlife species. They also seized 271 machines and other equipment used for illegal mining operations, the Navy indicated.
“We carried out crucial operations to reestablish the social fabric of those most in need,” Vice Adm. Mattos said. “Operations such as Sailing in the Heart of the Atrato [river], Sailing in the Heart of Magdalena [river], the arrival of the [U.S. Navy USNS] Comfort ship, as well as humanitarian operations in La Guajira, strengthened and helped to improve the conditions of these communities, with medical and humanitarian aid.”
In addition, the FNC carried out 11 infrastructure projects, including the construction and operation of two floating docks in Tierra Bomba Island. The Navy troops also conducted 24 workshops for development assistance, 22 social strengthening projects, and 45 humanitarian aid activities, the Navy said.
As for results in humanitarian demining, the Sucre department and the municipalities of San Jacinto and María La Baja in Bolívar department, were declared free of antipersonnel mines. Authorities also cleared 46,876 square meters in the municipalities of El Carmen de Bolívar and Zambrano, in Bolívar department.
“[In 2023] the national government, through the Ministry of Defense, set some goals to strengthen the results in the fight against narcotrafficking; the goal we have set on behalf of the National Navy, with all its units, is to [seize] 320 tons of cocaine hydrochloride this year,” Vice Adm. Mattos said. “Right now, we are developing the strategy, strengthening operational campaigns, tactics, and strengthening communication with allied countries again, to meet this new challenge that begins in 2023.”
During the first month of 2023, the FNC seized 11.2 tons of cocaine hydrochloride and 1 ton of marijuana. “Above all, a quite important effort was made in the seizure of liquid and solid chemical precursors used to process cocaine in laboratories; and with that we are affecting the production of the final product which is cocaine hydrochloride and also affecting the entire narcotrafficking chain,” Vice Adm. Mattos concluded.