Over 26,000lbs of Cocaine Seized in Colombia
Law enforcement in Colombia has made the largest cocaine bust in history, according to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the Ministry of National Defense. Police seized over 13 tons of cocaine from coca farms near Medellin hidden in several banana plantations. Police estimated that the cocaine was worth $360 million. Four people were also arrested in the raid.
The Director of the National Police General Jorge Nieto said that the bust last Wednesday was a "historic seizure in the fight against organized crime." Colombia has already confiscated at least 360 tons of cocaine in 2017 so far. The pure cocaine seized in the bust on Wednesday was wrapped in plastic and stacked in large bales. The stash is believed to belong to cartel leader Dairo Úsuga, also known as Otoniel, from the Gulf Clan. The Gulf Clan is one of the most violent drug cartels in Colombia. At least 1,500 people affiliated with the Clan have been arrested as the police continue crackdown on cocaine production.
The Colombian government is giving farmers money to grow other produce in an effort to reduce cocaine production in the country. They are also using force to shut down cocaine farms. More than 108,000 acres of illegal cocaine farms were destroyed, according to the Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported that coca farming had increased by 52 percent in 2016 to meet demand and that Colombia was able to cultivate more than 850 tons of cocaine. The seized cocaine was set to be sold in the United States and was found near areas known to smuggle drugs into the U.S. The United Nations report is direct evidence that the demand for cocaine is high and that the war on drugs is surely a lost cause.
Niko Mann is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles.