Colombian police have captured 21 people suspected of trafficking illegal drugs from Colombia to Central America, Caracol Radio reported Monday.
The arrests were made as part of operation “Conquest” that detained individuals in Bogota, Cartagena, San Andres and Providencia and seized a vehicle transporting 1,600kg of chemicals used for processing cocaine, estimated to be valued at $53,000.
The trafficking operations allegedly shipped drugs from Cartagena and Puerto Caballo in Colombia, to Venezuela before moving them on to the Colombian islands of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina.
Ultimately, through the use of speed boats deployed by the traffickers, the drugs would end up in Central American mainland countries such as Honduras. As Caracol reports, such boats can transport between three and four tons of cocaine per month.
Brigadier General Oscar Gamboa of Colombia’s National Police was in charge of the operation. He promised that the police will continue to fight drug traffickers and money launderers in the region and bring those responsible to justice. Gamboa also confirmed that they had captured a suspect wanted in Medellin since 2008 on charges of drugs and arms trafficking.
General Cesar Pizon, director of the national counter narcotics squad, admitted that there is a growing trafficking problem in Central America because drug dealers are using islands such as San Andres as access points to Central America and the U.S. San Andres has subsequently experienced a spike in violence as a result of these increased trafficking operations.
Pizon admitted that drug traffickers have successfully developed “new transportation routes away from traditional ports and airports,” but also confirmed that the police are working with the local authorities on the island and further arrests will follow.