Narcotics police confiscated $13 million worth of cocaine in Colombia’s largest Pacific port Monday, national media reported.
Reportedly en route to Guatemala and destined for distribution in the US, one ton of cocaine was found in a shipping container in Buenaventura, in the western state of Valle de Cauca.
The shipment was said to belong to “Los Urabeños,” a neo-paramilitary group believed to be one of the primary movers of narcotics in the country.
Speaking to reporters Monday, Colonel Palomino, commander of the National Police, called on those arrested along with the shipment to “give up their bosses.”
The seizure occurred 24 hours after Colombia’s Defense Ministry sent additional security forces to Buenaventura, which has been reinforced with military troops following increased international attention from the United Nations and Human Rights Watch.
The city has unemployment rates of over 60% and has become the primary battleground of Los Urabeños and “La Empresa,” which are locked in a brutal war for control of the strategic port.
Hundreds of assassinations and thousands of displaced residents have been reported in recent months, and the discovery of a series of “chop houses,” where rival gangs dismember their victims, has brought heightened scrutiny on what the United Nations has classified as a “humanitarian crisis.”
In response, President Juan Manuel Santos has brought forth a number of short-term development projects and programming targeting at-risk youth, but no comprehensive solutions have been proposed, nor has the government announced how long it will maintain a martial presence in the city.