Military operations in northern Colombia resulted in the capture of 22 alleged FARC members and more than 40 weapons, reported local media Monday.
Security forces dealt a blow to the guerrilla group this weekend when they arrested alias “Julian,” supposed leader of the 33rd Front, defused just over a ton of explosives and dismantled a cocaine laboratory run by the leftist group in the department of Norte de Santander near the Venezuelan border.
The front reportedly handles the security, logistics and finances of FARC’s supreme leader, Rodrigo Londono Echeverri, alias “Timochenko,” who is believed to be hiding in the region.
“This is one of the few ‘sanctuaries’ the FARC have left and we have a force of five thousand men coming to their hideouts,” said General Juan Pablo Amaya, commander of the army’s second division.
“We are destroying the laboratories in order to take away the money they get from drug trafficking and that allows them to buy weapons and explosives,” the official added.
According to Pablo, with these 22 arrests, efforts to consolidate the area have resulted in the capture of nearly 100 people with alleged links to the FARC and the destruction of 90 tons of supplies intended for cocaine production.
The arrests were made in three separate operations in the towns of El Tarra and Convencion. The largest of the three took place in the mountains where security forces stormed an encampment harboring 14 guerillas, land mines and explosives. The other two operations occurred in Convencion, one of which resulted in the capture of five suspected guerillas, several pistols, seven rifles, grenades and 200kg of explosives.