Colombian Police Set Fire To Over 100 Cocaine Labs

REUTERS/John Vizcaino

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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In just five days, Colombian police set 104 major cocaine labs on fire that produced 100 tons of the illicit drug a year, according to authorities Tuesday.

The major anti-drug production operations took place in the Colombian jungle in areas that are known for FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) Marxist rebel activity. FARC denies involvement in drug trafficking, especially in the wake of having signed a historic ceasefire with the Colombian government in June, ending over 50 years of war between the two sides.

This is a structural blow to the finances of drug trafficking,” General Jose Angel Mendoza told Reuters. The successful police raids are part of a strategy shift by law enforcement to go after cocaine producers directly involved in drug trafficking rather than targeting coca farmers who grow the cash crop out of desperation.

Coca cultivation has been a major problem for Colombian authorities in 2015, which saw growth of the crop increase by 39 percent, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Colombian authorities seized 253 tons of the drug in 2015.

Colombian paramilitary organizations and rebel groups greatly depend on drug trafficking as a steady source of income and provide their product to Mexican cartels. Colombia is the largest cocaine-producing country in the world.

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