15 Million dollars Worth of Cocaine Seized in Colombia

What You Need to Know:

A joint operation by the Colombian Navy, and Colombian Air Force on March 24th recovered more than 1000 lbs of cocaine hidden in 18 packages from a merchant ship in the port city of Barranquilla. 

Upon the Navy pursuing the ship, which was moving ‘suspiciously’ in Mallorquin Swamp, a coastal lagoon on the left bank of the Magdalena River in the Caribbean sea, the ship’s occupants fled, leaving a 60-year old man on board.

Air Force Commandos parachuted into the area presumably using a Low Altitude Low Opening (LALO) technique to locate the ship’s occupants that had fled. However, a statement from the Colombian Navy did not confirm if the runaways were indeed captured. 

Mallorquin swamp is populated by various species of mangrove, which provides optimal cover for drug traffickers using boats to move inland as well as to remain undetectable while trying to access the Caribbean sea, where cocaine consuming nations such as Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, and Guatemala lie ahead. 

The Navy’s statement claimed the ship originated from the Port of Santa Marta, separated by water from Barranquilla and Mallorquin swamp. It is likely the ship was traveling slowly along the coast, using the swamp to access the Caribbean sea, where the Navy claims its destination was Costa Rica. 

The Details: 

According to the US Drug Enforcement Agency, Colombia is the world’s largest cocaine producer, producing around 70% of the world’s cocaine using coca leaves sourced from nations such as Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. 

Due to the existence of heavily vegetated areas, cocaine processing laboratories are hidden across the Colombian countryside, making it especially difficult for authorities to clamp down on. Additionally, Cartels, which dominate the cocaine trade are especially violent, oftentimes using drug mules or paying small sums to locals to traffick cocaine to neighboring countries. 

Additionally, many families turn to farming coca leaves to earn a living, due to the constant market price it carries. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime claims at least 130,000 small scale coca farmers rely on the plant for their livelihoods in Colombia alone. 

However, large amounts of the leaf are required to make a single kilo of cocaine, hence why among other factors, coca farmers remain in poverty. 

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Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.