On November 12, 2020, the Ecuadorean National Police reported carrying out a combined operation with the Colombian Military Forces, and with the support of Mexican authorities, against a transnational narcotrafficking organization that operates in Colombia and Ecuador. The operation resulted with the seizure of 2,503 kilograms of drugs, cash, and several vehicles.
“This transnational organization had ties with the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel and with the Colombian residual organized armed groups Oliver Sinisterra and Los Contadores, for tax payments on the transit of drugs through their territories,” the Ecuadorean police added.
Authorities carried out the operation simultaneously in the departments of Valle del Cauca and Nariño, in Colombia, and in Esmeraldas province, in Ecuador.
In Colombia, authorities “managed to capture 10 people, among them a woman, who had arrest warrants for drug trafficking, manufacturing, and possession; aggravated conspiracy to commit a crime; and money laundering,” the Colombian Military Forces’ General Command reported on its website on November 13.
The other five arrests took place in Ecuador, according to a video that Colombian Minister of Defense Carlos Holmes Trujillo posted on Twitter on November 12. The official highlighted the results of the operation against the “criminal chain of narcotrafficking” and reported the capture of Lucio Hernando Burbano Portilla, leader of the organization, in Cali.
“Lucio […] had the capacity to lead the shipment of up to five tons of drugs per month through go-fast boats, from the Ecuadorean coast to North America, after transit through Mexico,” the Colombian National Police said in a statement on November 12. During the capture, authorities seized the equivalent of more than $2.2 million in cash.
A year of investigations led to the seizure of two drug shipments from this organization, “one of 340 kg of cocaine, on October 2, 2019, in Pampanal de Bolívar [Ecuador], and another of 2 tons of drugs, on August 3, 2020, in Acapulco, Mexico,” the Ecuadorean newspaper El Comercio reported on November 13.
SOUTHCOM Statement on the Passing of Colombian Minister of Defense Carlos Holmes Trujillo Garcia.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Colombian Minister of Defense Carlos Holmes Trujillo Garcia. On behalf of the men and women of U.S. Southern Command, I would like to express our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to his family. We join with the people of Colombia in mourning his tragic passing and honoring his many years of devoted service to his nation. Minister Trujillo was a dear friend and a highly respected leader. We will always be grateful for his many significant contributions to our firm and unwavering partnership with Colombia’s Military Forces. Our nation, our armed forces, and our command will always remember him fondly, and his friends at U.S. Southern Command will miss him dearly.”
– U.S. Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, Commander, U.S. Southern Command