Colombia Strikes Blow Against Urabeños Cocaine Network

Colombian authorities intercepted a go-fast boat carrying 2.2 tons of cocaine close to the border with Panama, off the country’s northwest Caribbean coast.

The operation was carried out by coast guard units of the navy, based on intelligence gathered over six months by Colombian police in coordination with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Authorities stopped the vessel in waters close to the municipality of Sapzurro, close to the lawless area of the Darien Gap.

The operation also captured five suspects, four Colombians and a Honduran national, who are alleged members of the Urabeños, a new generation criminal gang that is powerful along Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The cocaine, with a retail value of approximately $60 million, was likely being sent to the U.S. via Panama.

The seizure follows the Colombian Army’s discovery of a huge cocaine production laboratory in the north-central province of Antioquia. The facility could produce up to two tons of cocaine a week, according to the authorities, with some 40 people working there.