The minister of interior and justice called for more manpower to fight FARC and ELN cocaine trafficking operations in Norte de Santander near the Venezuelan border, the minister’s website reported Friday.
“This region continues being very conflicted. There is a large presence of FARC and ELN [National Liberation Army]; they have taken to blowing the oil pipeline permanently to divert actions from the police. It is a place in Colombia where we have to put more attention, we also have a border problem,” said the minister during a Friday visit to Tibu, Norte de Santander.
“The coca from Catatumbo is leaving for Venezuela…we are convinced that all of the coca is leaving across this border,” said the official.
According to Vargas Lleras, aerial spraying of coca crops in the department has been suspended for several months. He also reinforced that Venezuela is a major point of exit for Colombian cocaine making its way to Europe and the United States.
The minister called for more troops to exercise control in the region, not only to eradicate an estimated 12,355 newly planted acres of cocaine but also to help protect investment opportunities, such as the construction of a second oil pipeline in the region.