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Colombia cocaine seizures break record in 2022


Colombian Navy officers unload seized packages of cocaine from two semi-submersible vessels bound for Central America, in Tumaco, Colombia December 27, 2022. Courtesy of Colombian Navy/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Colombia seized more cocaine in 2022 than any other year on record, the South American country’s defense ministry reported Saturday.

Security forces seized 671 tonnes of the drug last year, surpassing the 2021 total by about 1.7 tonnes.

“It is necessary to combat the illicit income that comes from drug trafficking, which generates evil in our country,” said Defense Minister Ivan Velasquez, quoted in the ministry’s statement. He credited authorities for the “great results.”

The data showed that Narino, Bolivar and Valle del Cauca provinces were the site of the most seizures last year.

Cocaine production and trafficking are considered the main driver of an almost six-decade armed conflict in Colombia that has left more than 450,000 dead and millions displaced.

The guerilla group National Liberation Army, dissidents from the FARC rebel group and criminal gangs made up of former right-wing paramilitaries have all been implicated in drug trafficking.

Cocaine seizures were 505 tonnes in 2020 and 428 tonnes in 2019.