ColombiaOne.comColombia newsOver 3 Tons of Cocaine Seized in Joint Colombia-US Operation

Over 3 Tons of Cocaine Seized in Joint Colombia-US Operation


Go fast boat transporting cocaine off Colombia San Andres island
Colombia and US authorities seized an impressive shipment of cocaine near San Andres island, with 3.3 tons of drugs confiscated. Credit : Fuerzas Militares de Colombia

On March 26, 2024, in a joint operation involving the Colombian Navy, the Colombian Air Force and the United States Southern Command, security forces seized over 3.3 tons of cocaine off the island of San Andres. The drug shipment, valued at approximately US$113 million, was being transported by a go-fast boat operated by a five-member crew, including three Colombian, one Venezuelan and one Honduran.

Cocaine seizures in Colombia have seen a significant increase in recent years, rising from 659 tons seized in 2022 to 739.5 tons in 2023, as reported by the Colombian Defense Ministry. On the same day, Colombian Police confiscated an additional 1.7 tons of cocaine in the Caribbean port of Santa Marta, concealed within an avocado shipment destined for Setubal, a port city in Portugal.

Cocaine seizures in Colombia

In 2023, a total of 16.6 tons of cocaine were confiscated in the area of the Archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Calina. Indeed, the Caribbean and international waters are the primary zones for cocaine seizure, with 450.78 tons confiscated in these areas by Colombian authorities in 2023. Within mainland Colombia, significant cocaine seizures occurred along the Caribbean Coast, especially in the Bolivar department where 28.6 tons were seized. However, the most notable seizures took place in inland territories known for an important presence of far-left guerrillas, such as the Norte de Santander department, a stronghold of the ELN, where 34.8 tons were seized. Additionally, in the Pacific region, the Nariño and Valle del Cauca departments, which are bases for the Estado Mayor Central, a dissident group of the now-defunct FARC, saw significant seizures amounting to 69.6 and 36 tons respectively in 2023.

Fighting cocaine trafficking, an endless struggle?

Behind these encouraging statistics lies the reality of an increase in cocaine production, not only in Colombia but also in other countries such as Peru, Bolivia and Honduras, which are emerging as significant new players. Accounting for about 60 percent of the world’s cocaine production, Colombia has witnessed a surge in coca cultivation in recent years, notably attributed to the slow down of coca crop eradication program under the presidency of Gustavo Petro.

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