The seizures were made in the southwestern Cauca and Valle del Cauca departments, said Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon. In the Padilla municipality, the north of Cauca, police found almost two tons of marijuana, allegedly belonging to the Sixth Front of the FARC, which operates in the area. A second shipment of three tons of marijuana was seized in the town of Buga, in Valle del Cauca.
The 1,490 pounds of cocaine, on the other hand, was expropriated in the Pacific port town of Buenaventura. Authorities said the shipment was destined for the Central American country of Panama, where it would later be shipped to Mexico.
Buenaventura, one of Colombia’s most important port cities, is a main exit point for processed cocaine leaving Colombia for the North American market. According to the police, the cocaine shipment was worth some $20 million and belonged to an “alliance” between the FARC and the drug trafficking organization “Los Rastrojos“.
Furthermore, also in Buenaventura, authorities seized 443 pounds of cocaine, allegedly owned by Los Rastrojos’ main rivals from the neo-paramilitary group, “Los Urabeños“.
Los Rastrojos and Los Urabeños are currently believed to be fighting a proxy war over the control of southwestern Colombia’s drug trade. The Valle del Cauca department in particular is considered the traditional heartland of Los Rastrojos, while Los Urabeños, hailing from Colombia’s northwestern Uraba region, are believed to make inroads in this part of the country to take over vital drug trafficking routes.
The FARC’s ruling body, the Secretariat, has feverishly denied any involvement in the drug trade. However, according to Colombia’s largest newspaper El Tiempo, the FARC could currently be in the process of selling drug franchises to the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel, as the rebels prepare for a possible peace accord with the Colombian government.