JIATF South and Colombia Disrupt Drug Flow in the Pacific
By Yolima Dussán/Diálogo July 29, 2020
The Colombian Navy intercepted a vessel carrying 274 packages of cocaine, pressed and marked with different logos, during a maritime interdiction operation in the Pacific Ocean on May 25. The seizure took place 182 miles from Tumaco Port.
“Thanks to Colombian naval intelligence, we deployed the ship ARC Nariño and a Coast Guard Rapid Response Unit to Malpelo Island, in Colombian territorial waters,” Colombian Navy Rear Admiral John Fabio Giraldo Gallo, commander of the Pacific Naval Force, told Diálogo. “That information was simultaneously shared with U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South [JIATF South], which deployed a surveillance aircraft to support the efforts of Colombian units.”
The Navy reported that the drug — worth $9 million — along with ammunition, communications equipment, and the three crew members, were handed over to the competent authorities.
Following the operation, the Pacific Naval Force highlighted the value of coordinated operations between the Colombian public force and similar forces in the region. “It’s important to highlight the participation of JIATF South,” said Rear Adm. Giraldo. “The purpose of this interagency joint task force, under the U.S. Southern Command, is to carry out operations against illicit trafficking, merge intelligence, and coordinate resources to promote security in the Americas in the [fight] against narcotrafficking, being one of the main allies for the Colombian Navy in the fight against this scourge at sea.”
Maritime operations have a differentiating factor: The coordination of real-time information sharing between naval counterparts and/or partner nation coast guard services makes it possible to integrate available resources and obtain immediate responses to every known alert, the Navy said.
Rear Adm. Giraldo added that for many years, narcotrafficking has taken advantage of the lack of communication amongst the armed forces in the region, due to restrictions for countries not to violate the sovereignty of neighboring countries. “Nowadays, the fight against narcotrafficking at sea and the agreements reached have enabled countries in our region to confront narcotrafficking events in a coordinated way […]. Chasing suspicious vessels is now possible by transferring jurisdiction from one country to another, and fast communication lets us keep monitoring the event with the neighboring country’s available resources,” he concluded.