BOGOTA – Colombia and the United States seized over 7.5 metric tons of cocaine worth $286 million in a joint operation, the Colombian government said on Wednesday.
The narcotics were mixed with a construction product and were being transported between the Colombian port city of Cartagena and Panama, the government said in a statement.
The drugs “belonged to drug trafficking structures associated with the Gulf Clan organized armed group,” it said, and were to be received by other criminal groups in Central America and Europe.
Potential production of pure cocaine hydrochloride in Colombia rose 1.5% last year to 1,137 metric tons, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said last month, even as the areas planted with primary ingredient coca decreased.
Despite decades of anti-narcotics efforts, Colombia remains one of the world’s top cocaine producers.
Leftist rebels, crime gangs and former right-wing paramilitaries are all involved in production and transport to consumers based largely in North America and Europe, according to security sources.