For years, the FARC rebel group allegedly managed to conceal a rudimentary refinery in the jungle of Nariño department. The refinery processed crude oil, diverted from a local pipeline, and used the resulting petrol to supply cocaine manufacturing laboratories found in the same location.
According to El Tiempo, the illegally obtained petrol earned the FARC an estimated $820,000 a year.
Petrol is required for the manufacturing of cocaine, and soldiers reportedly found a 6,450 square foot area in the jungle devoted to both petrol and cocaine production. The area contained almost 64,000 gallons of crude oil valued at $162,000, six refineries as well as two cocaine crystal distilleries, a cocaine-base laboratory, 35,000 coca plants and 26 microwaves. Troops also discovered facilities to house at least 45 guerrillas.
The six refineries add to approximately 30 others discovered by the army this year reported El Tiempo. In 2012, security forces discovered 60 refineries, which implemented the same process of putting valves into the pipeline and transporting the crude oil using hoses up to four kilometers long.
In addition to causing economic losses, the petrol-making process apparently caused serious environmental damage. “This is one of the larger ecological crimes committed by the FARC,” said Jorge Mora, the head of the counter-narcotics operation.
Local communities were also affected by the FARC’s illicit petrol production chain.
According to Isabel Rubiano, a researcher from the Technical Investigation Team, “a lot of diseases, such as skin cancer and gastrointestinal problems that the locals have had, especially the fishing community, stems from this contamination.”
- Las Farc tenían refinería artesanal en el Pacífico (El Tiempo)
- Hallan refinerías artesanales de crudo en Tumaco y se las atribuye a Farc (El Pais)
- Descubren robo de crudo en oleoducto Trasandino (Semana)
- Ejercito propina duro golpe a las finanzas de Columna Movil Daniel Aldana de las FARC (Ejercito Nacional de Colombia)