BOGOTA – Colombian law enforcement has destroyed 104 cocaine laboratories capable of producing some 100 tonnes of the drug annually, the head of the anti-narcotics police said on Tuesday.
Officials have claimed that the raid is a part of a new strategy to target the producers and traffickers rather than the poor farmers who grow the coca plant.
“This is a structural blow to the finances of drug-trafficking,” anti-drug police director General Jose Angel Mendoza told Reuters news agency.
The operation took place in the country’s southeastern jungle region and was conducted over a period of 5 days. At least two tons of cocaine were also found and destroyed in the raids. Besides narcotics, Colombia’s authorities managed to capture at least three people in the raids, according to the country’s Attorney General.
According to data from the United Nations, coca cultivation was up by 29% in Columbia in 2015.
Last month, Mendoza recalled, there were two other major operations in which 116 laboratories were destroyed in the northeast and south of the country. So far this year, Colombia’s authorities destroyed 3,800 laboratories across the country while the anti-narcotics police has seized 123 tons of cocaine.