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Interdiction

Programs

Interdiction ($16.5 M)

  • 191 metric tons of cocaine and base seized in 2007
  • Programs with Police, Navy, Air Force, and Army
  • Gets product further up value-added chain
  • Follow-up investigations and arrests

Colombia's public security forces prevented hundreds of tons of illicit drugs from reaching the world market through interdiction of cocaine and heroine. Colombia's police and military forces captured or shared in the capture of 191 metric tons of cocaine and cocaine base. USG analysis, based in multiple sources, concludes that, since March 2007, cocaine availability in the U.S. has fallen significantly, while the price has increased and average purity decreased. The CNP, led by DIRAN, interdicted over 71 metric tons of cocaine and base in addition to destroying 1,154 drug laboratories and 14 runways in 2007. GOC authorities also conducted numerous joint operations against high-value narcotics terrorist targets such as the one where Diego León Montoya Sánchez, a/k/a “Don Diego” was arrested.  Important asset seizures included the 95 million dollars owned by Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadía, a/k/a “Chupeta”.

Junglas (funded by Interdiction program)

  • Specialize in destroying HCl (cocaine hydrochloride) laboratories
  • Destroyed over 62 HCL labs and 850 coca base labs in 2007
  • Police unit of choice for High Value Targets (HVTs)
  • Trained by U.S. Army Special Forces

DIRAN's Jungla Commandos (Junglas) are air mobile units that have received significant specialized U.S. government training. The Junglas' primary mission is the destruction of HCl (cocaine hydrochloride) labs and interdiction missions.  The Junglas are among the finest Special Forces units in Colombia, if not Latin America. These units’ operations depend heavily on the police aviation assets which enable them to reach those remote and inaccessible corners where these targets are located.  Their efforts have led to the capture of leaders of the FARC, ELN, AUC, and major narcotrafficking groups.  They have seized tremendous amounts of cocaine and destroy hundreds of laboratories annually. The Junglas have also conducted numerous successful joint operations with the Colombian Military, in particular the Colombian Air Force.

Counterdrug Brigade ($2M)

  • Army unit that focuses on counternarcotics
  • Advance work for aerial eradication missions
  • Pursues shooters of spray planes
  • Increasing self-sufficiency

In 2007, the Colombian Army Counter Drug Brigade secured nearly 100,000 hectares for aerial eradication and provided security for GMEs operating along Colombia’s border with Ecuador, an area off-limit to aerial eradication.  During interdiction operations the Brigade seized 1.5 metric tons of cocaine base and destroyed 35 HCl (cocaine hydrochloride) labs, 325 base labs, 188 tons of liquid precursors, 169 tons of solid precursors, and nearly 35 million coca plant seedlings. They also dismantled 11 narcotics terrorist base camps and killed or captured 57 narcotics terrorists.

Air Bridge Denial ($15M)

  • Stops aerial transport of drugs through Colombia
  • Seized 2 metric tons of cocaine in 2007
  • 50% decrease in illegal flights in 2007 compared to 2006
  • Has destroyed 24 aircraft and contributed to the seizure of 19 MT of cocaine.
  • Began maritime counterdrug operations in 2007

The Air Bridge Denial Program has resulted in an 86% decline, from 637 when program began in 2003 to 84 in 2007, in identified suspect air tracks over Colombia. ABD operations in 2007 contributed to the destruction of two aircraft, three self propelled semi submersibles and nearly 20 tons of cocaine; the capture of one aircraft and four ships, and the seizure of over two metric tons of cocaine.

GREAS - Maritime Drug Interdiction ($1M)

  • Colombian Navy program to interdict maritime drug trafficking
  • Multilateral with Colombia, US and the other allies
  • Provides special training, equipment, and support
  • Participates in 90+% of all Caribbean seizures

Most drugs departing Colombia go by sea -- either "go-fast" boats, fishing vessels, commercial shipping, or the relatively new method of semi-submersible vessels.  The go-fast boat is a high performance boat outfitted with 2-4 250 horsepower motors, and capable of speeds in excess of 35 knots in the open ocean.  The typical go-fast carries between one and two tons of illegal drugs.  The semi-submersible vessels are slow but almost impossible to detect at sea.  Some semi-submersibles can carry over ten tons of drugs in a single voyage.  

The Maritime Drug Interdiction program began in 2002 and supports the Colombian Navy in interdicting drugs departing from Colombia's Caribbean Coast, ideally by developing intelligence on likely departure sites and stopping the smuggling vessels before they can sail.  The program is closely coordinated with the US Coast Guard, the Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-South), DEA and other Embassy agencies.  Plans are underway to expand the program to the Pacific Coast over the next few years.