Colombian anti-narcotics police seized nearly 6 tons of cocaine and cocaine base in the south western department of Nariño.
The drugs were found in a drug lab where the cocaine base was being processed into cocaine. The lab allegedly belonged to paramilitary group ‘Águilas Negras’ (Black Eagles)
The laboratory was seized by the “Junglas”
special anti-drugs force in a raid on the mountainous Cumbitara
municipality. The commandos were supported by Black Hawk and Huey
helicopters and took gunfire as they descended on the traffickers’ camp.
Police said the raid was the first seizure of a lab run exclusively by
the Black Eagles, one of the armed groups that have arisen to replace
the 31,000 paramilitary fighters who demobilized in a
government-sanctioned peace process that ended in 2006. According to a
study by the New Rainbow Corporation, a peace group based in Bogota,
the Colombian capital, the Black Eagles account for nearly half of the
estimated 10,000 “new” paramilitary fighters.
Police found 4 tons of refined cocaine, and an
additional 1.7 tons of cocaine base, which can be converted into more than
1 ton of pure cocaine. The lab complex, which had its own power plant
and housed 50 workers, was capable of producing an estimated 5 tons of
pure cocaine a week, authorities said.