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Link Uncovered Between FARC and Drug Traffickers Exporting Cocaine from ‎Andean Countries

By Dialogo
January 20, 2009

The 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.
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