A military operation against a FARC cocaine processing plant revealed extensive environmental damage in the southwest of Colombia, the army said Tuesday.
A task force from the Army’s 3rd Division dismantled two laboratories capable of producing 2,000 kilos of coca paste a month in Buenos Aires, a municipality a few miles south of Cali.
Soldiers also discovered a man-made dam used to power the operations, which was said to have caused serious damage to the surrounding environment.
“With the construction of this dam, the guerrillas caused serious environmental damage due to the fact that the chemicals used in the process were diverted into the water,” army sources told newspaper El Espectador.
Also found at the sites were two power plants, 67 water tanks, 350 gallons of chemicals, as well as large amount of industrial equipment.
According to national news sources, the two laboratories were worth more than $500,000,000 dollars.
The plant was operated by the Miller Perdomo FARC Column, which relied heavily on the dam as a means of accelerating its production process.
The rural “vereda las Brisas” area where the plants were located is one of the most natural resource rich areas in the Cauca region.
Local media reported that the damage inflicted upon the local environment was “irreversible and incalculable.”
The FARC has been fighting the Colombian state since its foundation in 1964. Since then, millions of Colombians fell victim to violence caused by fighting between the rebels, the Colombian military and state-aligned paramilitary groups.
The rebel group is currently negotiating a political end to the conflict with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos.
Buenos Aires, Cauca
- Descubierta represa artesanal construida por las Farc en medio de la vegetación del Cauca (Colombian Army)
- Hallan represa de las Farc en el Cauca (El Espectador)