Colombia destroys 104 cocaine labs in five days
Updated: 2016-08-03 09:19
A Colombian anti-narcotics policeman stands guard after burning a cocaine lab, which police said belongs to criminal gangs, in a rural area of Calamar in Guaviare state, Colombia, August 2, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]
GUAVIARE, Colombia - Colombian law enforcement has destroyed 104 cocaine laboratories capable of producing some 100 tonnes of the drug annually, the head of the anti-narcotics police said on Tuesday.
The operation, conducted over five days in the country's southeastern jungle region, is part of new government strategy focused on combating drug production as well as the cultivation of coca, the base ingredient of cocaine.
"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 laboratories were burned down by police commandos.
Coca cultivation was up 39 percent in Colombia in 2015, according to United Nations data.
Law enforcement in the country confiscated 253 tonnes of cocaine in 2015, up 71 percent on the year before.
Leftist rebels and crime gangs are both involved in the drug trade - taxing coca growers, running production laboratories and smuggling the drug in partnership with Mexican cartels.
- Not for the faint-hearted: Glass bridge opens in Hunan
- Geneticist defends his groundbreaking technique
- Activist jailed for subversion, harming national security
- New Hainan port opens as annual fishing ban ends
- From hunting wild fruits to satellite dishes: Life of Myanmar returnees
- World's first panda-themed subway line runs in Chengdu