515 members of neo-paramilitary or drug trafficking organizations have been arrested in north Colombia over the past four months, said the commander of the country’s armed forces Saturday.
According to Admiral Edgar Cely, all arrests took place in the department of Cordoba and the Bajo Cauca region in the Antioquia department. The region is considered one of the most important drug routes to the Pacific and its extremely high murder rates are blamed on the groups formed from demobilized paramilitary organization AUC and the now defunct Norte del Valle cartel.
Authorities were able to seize 6 tons of cocaine and closed down 72 illegal mines. 290 illegal miners were arrested.
Colombia’s armed forces started an offensive, dubbed “Plan Troya,” earlier this year after two students from the prestigious Los Andes University in Bogota were murdered on a beach in the Cordoba department. According to the authorities, neo-paramilitary group Los Urabeños was behind this double homicide.
According to Cely, the offensive and the mass arrests have led to a 27 percent drop in homicides in the region.