President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Friday that a joint U.S Colombian operation has disrupted a major trafficking route of Daniel “El Loco” Barrera, through which 10 tons of cocaine were transported every month.
Authorities carrying out Operation Final Flight arrested 36 people wanted for extradition to the U.S, seized 21 airplanes, 5 tons of cocaine and $1.5 million.
Colombian authorities worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Florida Prosecutor’s Office on the operation, which had been nearly a year and a half in the planning.
In Colombia, the operation focussed on the southern city of Cali but also targeted traffickers in Bogota, Barranquilla and Villavicencio. Among those were a number of people allegedly responsible for laundering drug money by buying property in the four cities.
The airplanes were seized in Central America and a number of other people were arrested in the U.S and the Caribbean.
Colombia Prosecutor General, Vivian Morales explained, “[the traffickers] had moneymen who bought American registered planes, especially in Miami, that they used to transport cocaine through Central America and to the United States.”
According to General Oscar Naranjo, Director of the National Police, the trafficking operation revealed links between Barrera and the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico.
Naranjo said, “These drugs arrived directly to the organization of “Chapo Guzman” and “El Mayo.”
In a press conference with Florida Prosecutor Wilfredo Ferrer, President Santos said, “The determination of the government to confront drug trafficking will remain firm, our strength will grow and grow because drug trafficking has been the source of practically all the bad things that we have lived through and suffered in the last decades in this country.”