Link Uncovered Between FARC and Drug Traffickers Exporting Cocaine from Andean Countries
By Dialogo January 20, 2009The Colombian police uncovered an alliance between drug traffickers from former Norte del Valle cartel and FARC guerrillas to export cocaine from Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru in exchange for weapons, and seized seven people from that network. The arrests took place simultaneously in the Colombian cities of Armenia, Cucuta, Bogota, and Barranquilla, during "Operation Barcelona," said director of the National Police, General Oscar Naranjo. “Police Intelligence established that Diego Pérez Henao, alias "Diego Rastrojo," and Angel Gabriel Lozada, alias "Edgar Tovar," formed an alliance to export cocaine from Colombia and some neighbouring countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru, to different destinations within the United States, Mexico, Spain, and Italy,” said the officer. According to the investigations, the alliance between Front 48 of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) and drug traffickers from the group called "Rastrojos” permitted the laundering of huge sums of money, which was used by the guerrillas “to acquire weapons, explosives, and communication devices.” Said explosives would have been used in “attacks such as those against the oil infrastructure of southern Colombia,” the investigation stated. The alliance also illegally duplicated credit cards and forged documents. Also, it was learned that in order to evade security, member of the alliance "turned to human trafficking as a way to deceive recruits, mainly in the Valle del Cauca, and turn them into “mules" (human drug shipments). “In some cases, the ‘human shipment’ was foreign. In fact, police intelligence has documented two cases, one in Ecuador and another in Curazao,” said the police. The network had many connections in several Latin American countries, and their alliances were possible due to the blow that the Cartel del Norte del Valle suffered after their main bosses were captured, and because of the death of rebel chief Tomas Medica Cararas, alias “El Negro Acacio,” who was in charge of drug trafficking within the FARC, according to the authorities.