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Military Forces of Colombia Deal Blow to Residual Organized Armed Group

Military Forces of Colombia Deal Blow to Residual Organized Armed Group

By Myriam Ortega/Diálogo
September 22, 2020

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In early August, the Colombian Navy and Army dealt a harsh blow to the residual organized armed group (GAO-r, in Spanish) Estructura Sexta, which operates in the Colombian Pacific. In three operations, the Military Forces seized a semisubmersible and 1 ton of marijuana and captured two of the group’s members.

Troops from the 24th Marine Riverine Battalion, assigned to the 2nd Marine Brigade, and from the Army’s 2nd Anti-narcotics Battalion found the semisubmersible in the Naya River area. The 30-meter long vessel could carry up to 8 tons of illicit substances, Colombian Marine Corps Colonel José Domingo Cantillo Caro, chief of staff of the 2nd Marine Brigade, told Diálogo.

“It’s a naval apparatus built with a particular characteristic, namely that it’s interoceanic; one of these apparatus can easily make it to Mexico, to Central America without a problem, and that’s what stands out,” Col. Cantillo said. “Here in the Pacific, we’ve found improvised shipyards where they build this type of artifact hidden in the mangroves, and little by little they assemble a semisubmersible in about two to three months.”

Service members seized more than 680 liters of diesel fuel near the semisubmersible, which suggests that it was ready to be loaded with illicit substances, the Navy said in a statement. The vessel, valued at $1 million, was destroyed in that area, the Navy reported.

From January 1 to August 15, 2020, the 2nd Marine Brigade seized four semisubmersibles, 5,900 kilograms of marijuana, and some 8 tons of cocaine hydrochloride, and captured 14 individuals, all from Estructura Sexta, Col. Cantillo said.

Authorities dealt another blow to the GAO-r during a raid in Valle del Cauca department, when Army elements captured two members of an Estructura Sexta column. The Army reported that the detainees, alias Negro and alias Mechas, managed the largest drug warehouse in the area.

On site, authorities also found a vehicle containing 774 kg of marijuana, the Army said. During another raid against the GAO-r in Cauca department, Army units found 18 packages containing 270 kg of marijuana.