Colombia raids over 100 cocaine labs in 5 days (VIDEO)

© John Vizcaino
Colombia’s anti-narcotics police have raided and destroyed 104 cocaine laboratories across the country’s southeastern jungle region in what the authorities called a “structural blow” to the cocaine production and trafficking business.

The special operation, executed over a period of five days, saw 104 labs, which had been producing some 100 tons of narcotics annually, go up in flames. The production facilities, authorities say, belonged to Los Urabenos, also known as Clan Usuga, a drug trafficking neo-paramilitary group that is believed to have a close connection to the notorious FARC rebels.

“This is a structural blow to the finances of drug trafficking,” anti-narcotics police director General Jose Angel Mendoza told Reuters in the jungles of Guaviare province.

The anti-narcotics police had the support of the Colombian Air Force and the British government. The raids were carried out in the municipalities of Calamar, Miraflores, and El Retorno. According to Mendoza, the drugs generally produced in these facilities first passed to Brazil, and then to Venezuela from which they were finally shipped to Europe.

At least two tons of cocaine were also found and destroyed in the raids. Besides narcotics, Colombia’s authorities managed to detain at least three people in the raids, according to country’s Attorney General.

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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 seized 123 tons of cocaine.