Colombian military forces destroy 20 cocaine laboratories

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The fight against drug trafficking and organized crime continues unabated in Colombia, and the military forces are proving increasingly effective in their operations. Thus, in mid-June, through two operations, army and navy troops attached to the Joint Force Titán destroyed 20 cocaine laboratories, dealing a severe blow to the finances of the Clan del Golfo in just 72 hours. .

The laboratories, discovered in the Colombian Pacific department of Chocó with the support of the national police, are said to have a production capacity of around 2,000 kilograms of coca base paste per month and belong to the Carlos Vásquez substructure of the Clan del Golfo, the military said. .

The operations resulted in the seizure of approximately 23,300 liters of coca base in solution, nearly 17,000 liters of gasoline, more than 9,500 liters of fuel oil, 335 kg of chopped coca leaves, as well as tools such as as scales, fumigators and scythes, among other things, the army added.

Authorities found more than 23,300 liters of coca base in solution at the 20 seized cocaine processing labs in Chocó. (Photo: Colombian Army)

“About a month and a half before [the operation]intelligence was identifying the sites where these labs were established, and the goal was to do something on a large scale, to have a significant impact on the finances of organized armed groups that are committing crimes in the area,” said Lt. -colonel of the Colombian army Jaime Alejandro Amaya Sánchez. , commander of Jungle Battalion No. 54, Bajo Atrato, which is part of Division VII, Joint Task Force Titán, said Dialogo.

After tactical intelligence carried out a reconnaissance and identified the areas to carry out the operations, it was decided to start from the municipality of Carepa, Antioquia. Army units then infiltrate by air and in the river, with the support of naval means.

“Their finances are their center of gravity and the operation was aimed at tackling the factor of economic instability,” Lt. Col. Amaya said. Likewise, the economic impact of this operation on the Clan del Golfo leads to instability, since by making it more difficult for them to pay their members and buy weapons and ammunition, it can encourage voluntary surrender to the troops. , he added.

“Chocó is one of the most complex regions in Colombia in terms of access; it is a region with many social and economic problems; in Riosucio and Carmen del Darién, the roads are really rivers and canals,” Lt. Col. Amaya said. “It forces us to exercise territorial control by land, on foot. Cars can’t do it, troops are inserted via helicopters or via the Navy, via their river units […].”

Throughout 2022, until June 27, in the municipalities of Riosucio and Carmen del Darién, Jungle Battalion No. 54 destroyed 55 coca base paste production laboratories, four illegal warehouses and 15 tree nurseries. It also seized more than 46,000 liters of coca base paste being processed; more than 55,000 liters of liquid chemical precursors; 5,359 kg of solid precursor chemicals and eradicated 500 hectares of coca crops, Lt. Col. Amaya said.

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