BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Counter-narcotics troops have destroyed a huge cocaine lab suspected of belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the southwestern department of Nariño, army officials said on May 22. The lab had the capacity to refine as much as two tons of cocaine monthly and is suspected of being operated by the FARC’s Daniel Aldana faction, which is prevalent in the region, according to an army statement. The raid occurred in Caño Barbacoas, a jungle area in the Pacific port of Tumaco, about 700 kilometers (435 miles) from the nation’s capital, according to EFE. Troops found a complex that could house 40 workers and featured a dining area, storage space, an electrical generator, dryers, a stove, and a hydraulic press, according to EFE. The soldiers, who did not make any arrests, eradicated about 900 liters (238 gallons) of gasoline, about 4,000 liters (1,050 gallons) of acetone, 150 liters (40 gallons) of hydrochloric acid and 100 kilos (220 pounds) of caustic soda, among other ingredients needed to sustain the lab, according to EFE.
Gunfight between cops, drug gang leaves seven dead in Brazil
Seven died, two were injured and 37 were arrested during recent raids by the Brazilian police in the slum of Coreia in Rio de Janeiro, officials said. About 200 police officers raided Coreia with the intent to serve warrants, confiscate weapons and curtail drug deals, the Rio de Janeiro state police said in a statement obtained by EFE. But the officers were met with bullets, sparking gunfire between assailants and police protected by armored vehicles, said Lt. Col. Ricardo Brito. The police apprehended 37, including two suspected of being leaders of a gang headed by suspected druglord Márcio José Sabino. Police officials, who would not confirm whether the deceased were suspected gang members or residents killed by crossfire, confiscated eight pistols, two rifles, a shotgun, bullets, a small amount of drugs and four vehicles that had been reported stolen, according to EFE.
Colombian officials make massive cocaine confiscation in Caribbean
Colombian officials have seized more than 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of cocaine found on an abandoned boat on the beach of Santa Catalina Island, officials said. The confiscation occurred during a joint operation by the nation’s navy, army, National Police and DAS on May 21, according to EFE. The boat carrying the drugs was initially spotted about five miles east of Santa Catalina as it headed toward Providencia Island. The two crew members refused to stop when ordered, causing officials to request support from the air force, which sent a plane that “supported and guided the maritime units during the pursuit,” operation commanders said in a statement obtained by EFE. The crew members, who also were being chased by marines and National Police officers, reached Santa Catalina, where they quickly fled the scene,” officials told EFE. Authorities discovered 27 sacks containing 531 packets of cocaine, officials said, adding a search has been launched to find the suspects.
Colombia’s DNE holding 74,000 assets confiscated from drug traffickers the past few years
Colombian officials have 74,000 assets confiscated from drug traffickers during the past few years, according to the National Drug Enforcement Administration (DNE). The DNE has sold property valued at $310 billion pesos (US$160 million) taken from drug traffickers, according to Fabio Valencia, the minister of the interior and justice. About 24% of the revenue generated from the sales was used to fund construction of 11 penitentiaries nationwide, according to EFE. “Of the 17,184 assets, some 68 percent were assigned to the SAE (Special Assets Corporation) via administrative orders. The rest (57,281 other assets) will be turned over before the administration ends,” Valencia said. The progress of the asset seizure program was unveiled by DNE Director Omar Figueroa at a meeting in the city of Florencia attended by President Álvaro Uribe, according to EFE.