On July 1, the Colombian Navy presentedthe results of the nine versions of Multinational Naval Campaign Orion, aColombian Navy-led initiative, fundamental in the fight against narcotrafficking worldwide. The campaign, whose creation dates back to 2017 with the support of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and the Mexican Navy, strengthened interdiction operations to disrupt transnational narcotrafficking networks and related crimes in the Caribbean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, and border rivers in the region.
“[Orion] has been an effective campaign to the extent that it achieves interagency coordination of more than 41 countries in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and that with the support and coordination of the national government and especially of our National Navy, it brings together 106 agencies of these 41 countries to deliverconcrete objective againstnarcotrafficking,” Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano told the press. “This enormous multinational effort has demonstrated over the years the commitment of each of these countries, of each of these agencies in the fight against narcotrafficking, with the common goal of ridding the world of this scourge and the effects it has on our future generations, ofthe increased crime in our nations.”
Since the campaign’s inception and up to its ninth edition, held March 15–May 15, 2022,authorities have seized 716 tons of cocaine hydrochloride and 266 tons of marijuana, among other drugs. This sustained effort represents an unprecedented achievement in reducing the supply of narcotics worldwide, the Colombian Navy said in a statement.
Likewise, during the nine versions of the campaign, authorities seized 3,266 tons of solid chemical precursors, 986,000 gallons of liquid chemical precursors, and destroyed 2,413 illegal infrastructures used to process, extract, and transform the drugs, the Colombian Navy indicated.
During the ninth version of the Naval Campaign alone, participating authorities seized 214 tons of narcotics, intercepted a semisubmersible and 89 vessels, seized foreign currency equivalent to $1 billion,and captured 602 people of different nationalities, among other achievements, Admiral Gabriel Alfonso Pérez Garcés, commander of the Colombian Navy, said.
Naval Campaign Orion, since its creation, continues to respond to the challenges that narcotrafficking represents globally. “Large-scale cocaine trafficking from the Andean countries requires intensified international cooperation between law enforcement agencies, particularly on land and maritime trafficking routes established following the restrictions imposed on air traffic after the COVID-19 outbreak,” the late June World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) indicated.
“Naval Campaign Orion reflects that multilateral commitment of the nations present here, of the agencies present here, of our Armed Forces, of our Police forces worldwide, and that multilateral commitment seeks to reduce the supply of illicit drugs, protect our young people from drug addiction, contribute to security, and of course achieve integral development and at the same time protect the biodiversity and public health of our nations,” Minister Molano concluded.