251,287 cables indexed
Reference ID: 09BOGOTA3672
Origin: Embassy Bogota, Colombia Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Created:19 Nov 2009 Released:26 Aug 2011
Tags: SNAR

This is the cable as released by WikiLeaks. This cable is not redacted.

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E.O. 12958: N/A


I. Summary

The Government of the Republic of Colombia (GOC) has made
significant progress in its vigorous fight against the production
and trafficking of illicit drugs. Citing record coca eradication
in 2008, the USG and United Nations reported significant declines
in cocaine production potential and coca cultivation in Colombia in
2008. The USG recently reported that cultivation in 2008 was down
29 percent compared to 2007, from 167,000 to 119,000 hectares. The
USG, crediting sustained aerial eradication operations in 2008,
also reported a decline in pure cocaine production potential of 39
percent, from 485 metric tons (MT) in 2007 to 295 MT in 2008. The
United Nations (UN) reported an 18 percent drop in cultivation in
2008, down to 81,000 hectares, and a 28 percent fall in cocaine
production potential to 430 MT. Nevertheless, Colombia remains a
major drug producing country and Colombia's National Consolidation
Plan, supported by the Embassy's Colombia Strategic Development
Initiative (CSDI), seeks to integrate security, interdiction,
eradication, alternative development and justice programs in
targeted zones to reduce violence and consolidate security and
state presence in rural areas. In 2009, the GOC continued its
aggressive interdiction and eradication programs and maintained a
strong extradition record for persons charged with crimes in the
U.S. As of October 2009, Colombia has seized over 175 metric tons
(MT) of cocaine and cocaine base and eradicated over 130,000
hectares of illicit coca crops (the Colombian National Police (CNP)
Anti-Narcotics Directorate (DIRAN) aerially eradicated 85,000
hectares and increasingly dangerous manual eradication efforts
eliminated approximately 45,000 hectares). Colombia is a party to
the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The GOC has also begun to address
increasing domestic drug consumption and has raised the profile of
drug prevention and treatment efforts.

II. Status of Country

Despite aggressive interdiction and eradication efforts, Colombia
remains the world's principal cocaine supplier, a leading market
for precursor chemicals and the focus of significant money
laundering activity. The majority of the cocaine goes to the U.S.
via Mexico and other transit countries, but a growing percentage is
now destined for Europe and Brazil. Almost 90 percent of the
cocaine seized in the U.S. is Colombian. Colombia continues to be
a primary source for U.S. heroin users as well. Narco-traffickers
exploit Colombia's geography and well-developed infrastructure,
including seaports, multiple international airports, a growing
highway system, extensive rivers, and its long, inaccessible
Pacific and Atlantic coastlines for their operations.

While illegal drugs are still primarily exported, domestic
consumption is on the rise. With the completion of the first
National Household Drug Consumption Study since 1996 and the launch
of the National Drug Consumption Reduction Plan, the GOC has
established a baseline to measure changes in drug consumption and
devised a nationwide policy to be implemented throughout the
regions. Embassy Bogota's Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS)
continues to provide support for GOC and civil society initiatives
that strengthen drug demand prevention programs in Colombia.

The U.S. has designated three illegal armed groups as Foreign
Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) in Colombia. The Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and, to a lesser degree, the
National Liberation Army (ELN) exercise considerable influence over
areas with high concentrations of coca and opium poppy cultivation.
Their involvement in narcotics fuels armed conflict, insecurity,
and generates internal displacement of rural populations. The
third FTO, the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC),

officially demobilized in 2006 although a significant number of
former mid-level AUC commanders continue their involvement in the
drug trade, while others have joined emerging criminal bands
(BACRIM) in areas of former AUC influence.

III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives: The GOC continues to improve its criminal
justice institutions to increase its capability to investigate and
prosecute criminals and criminal organizations, particularly those
involved in drug trafficking. On January 1, 2008, Colombia
completed a nationwide transition to an accusatorial system of
criminal justice with the implementation of a new Criminal
Procedure Code. While crimes committed before the new Criminal
Procedure Code came into force are still be adjudicated under the
old system, crimes committed after the implementation of the new
Code are prosecuted and tried in the new system, in which cases are
resolved in months instead of years. Conviction rates have risen
from less than three percent to over sixty percent under the new

After manually eradicating a record 96,000 hectares of illicit
crops in 2008, the manual eradication goal for 2009 was reduced to
70,000 hectares due to funding limitations. The Colombian National
Police (CNP), Colombian Army (COLAR) and, to a lesser extent, the
Colombian Marines (COLMAR) manually eradicate illicit crops and
continue to make significant contributions to provide security and
aviation resources for manual eradication operations. Drug
traffickers and terrorist organizations continued to attack manual
eradicators. As of October 2009, over 40 civilian eradicators,
security personnel and a UN topographer have been reported killed
during manual eradication operations, in comparison to 26 for all
of 2008. In addition, mines and hostile fire have injured dozens
of eradication personnel thus far in 2009.

The Colombian Anti-Narcotics Police (DIRAN) supports a special
judicial police unit, established in 2006, which gathers evidence
for asset forfeiture proceedings against property owners
cultivating or processing illegal crops. In 2009, the unit
continued to develop and investigate cases for the Prosecutor
General's Office and, according to some estimates, the value of
illicitly obtained assets seized in 2009 may exceed $600 million
USD. This asset seizure initiative is an important step towards
better deterrence of cultivation and replanting after eradication.
While the management of these seizures has grown in complexity,
more legislative and regulatory changes are needed to improve the
GOC's ability to handle criminal assets and to benefit from their
forfeiture. The GOC is also working to increase community support
for law enforcement in traditionally lawless areas, for example by
increasing police representation from these areas.

Law Enforcement Efforts: Through October 2009, the GOC's Drug
Observatory (DNE) reported that Colombian security forces seized a
total of 175 metric tons (MT) of cocaine and cocaine base, 161.9 MT
of marijuana, 567 kg of heroin, over one million gallons and two
million kg of precursor chemicals, while destroying 246 cocaine
hydrochloride (HCL) labs and 2,327 coca base labs.

The CNP's Mobile Rural Police Squadrons (Carabineros), the units
which expand and maintain police presence in rural and conflict
areas throughout Colombia, captured over 6.4 MT of cocaine, 1,121
weapons, over 50,000 rounds of ammunition, 1,205 kgs of explosives
and destroyed over 160 base labs. In addition, Carabineros
captured 1,554 persons, 51 FARC/ELN, 228 emerging criminal bands
(BACRIM), 64 narco-traffickers and 729 common criminals. There are
currently 20 Carabinero units providing security for manual
eradication. The CNP's main interdiction force, the DIRAN's Jungle
Commandos (Junglas), or airmobile units, are largely responsible

for the significant number of HCL and coca base labs destroyed in

DIRAN maintained its strong commitment to working with
international partners in 2009. Under the Colombia-Mexico Police
Cooperation Program, the GOC provided counternarcotics and criminal
investigative training as part of the Mexican Secretariat of Public
Security (SSP) police reform initiative. Over 40 Colombian
National Police instructors contributed to an international effort
to train 10,000 Mexican federal police in San Luis de Potosi. In
September, 61 Mexican senior law enforcement executives completed 3
weeks training at the Bogota CNP Academy. In early November, an
additional 240 mid-level SSP officers received specialized training
from CNP instructors in Mexico. Colombia also provided state-level
CNP training in Jalisco, Mexico, with an abbreviated Jungla course
on drug interdiction operations; the CNP trained Mexican state
police in anti-kidnapping and investigative techniques in Ciudad
Juarez; and eight CNP Junglas provided two months' training to
local police in Guadalajara. Two Mexican federal police officers
were among 44 international students who participated in the
18-week "Jungla Commando International Course" conducted at the CNP
Rural Training Center in Tolima in September. USG-NAS-DOJ funding
enabled 15 Colombian prosecutors to prepare Mexican police to give
courtroom testimony. The CNP DIRAN Heroin Task Force completed
many bilateral priority target heroin investigations resulting in
124 arrests (18 for extradition to the U.S). Total DIRAN 2009
seizures to date include: 281.45 kgs of heroin, 1756.2 kg of
cocaine HCl, 5.4 kg of morphine, 68.9 kg of opium, and assets
valued at USD 3,640,000.

Port Security: Significant drug seizures in Colombia's ports were
the result of improvements in port security by the GOC and private
seaport operators, aided in part by the USG. In 2009, DIRAN seized
almost 11 MT of cocaine, two kg of heroin, and 881 kg of marijuana
in the ports. At Colombia's international airports, DIRAN units
confiscated 39 kg of heroin, almost two MT of cocaine, more than
120 kg of marijuana, and made over 293 drug-related arrests.

High-Value Targets (HVTs): Because of its leading role in the drug
trade, since 2005, over 60 FARC leaders have been indicted in the
U.S. for conspiring to traffic cocaine into the U.S. The GOC has
achieved notable successes against a number of high-level FARC
commanders in 2009. The FARC is attempting to recover from the
serious blows inflicted by the GOC against the senior FARC
leadership in 2008, most notably the July 2008 rescue of fifteen
hostages including three American contractors and former Colombian
presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt. Also in 2008, senior
FARC commander Luis Edgar Devia-Silva, aka "Raul Reyes," was killed
during a Colombian Government operation; FARC Commander Manuel
Munoz-Ortiz, aka "Ivan Rios" was killed at the hands of his own
chief of security; and FARC founding member Pedro Antonio Mar????n
Mar????n aka Manuel Marulanda-Velez or "Tirofijo," died. In 2009,
GOC prevented the FARC from regaining territory near Bogota and, in
"Operation Fuerte," Colombian forces killed the commander and
captured the deputy commander of the FARC'S "Antonio Narino" urban
front. On May 30, Colombian police captured Adela Perez, a senior
FARC leader who participated in the 1994 car bomb assassination of
a Colombian general and a 2001 assassination attempt against
current Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Other commanders killed
were "Camilo Tabaco" "Gaitan," "Negro Arturo" and the Company
commander of the Teofilo Ferrero mobile column and a major FARC
finance chief, "Pata Mala."

In 2009, the CNP captured BACRIM leader Daniel Rendon Herrera, aka
"Don Mario," Colombia's Most-Wanted narco-trafficker. Don Mario's
capture resulted from the April 9-15 CNP Directorate of Criminal
Intelligence (DIJIN) directed operation that included DIRAN Junglas
and multiple Police Aviation assets. The Junglas captured Don
Mario near Uraba, Antioquia, on the northwest Caribbean coast. On
October 1, the Junglas captured Marco Fidel Barba Galarcio, aka
"Mateo," the AUC paramilitary leader who led the remnants of Don

Mario's narcotrafficking organization. "Mateo" was a member of the
demobilized paramilitary AUC Northern Bloc. On October 10, the
DIRAN Judicial Police captured Ramon Majona in Covenas. Majona was
the north coast's major trafficker responsible for setting up
cocaine lab networks in northern Colombia and was wanted for
extradition to the U.S. Majona entered the AUC demobilization
process in 2005, but shortly thereafter he returned to

On September 26, 2009 the CNP Intelligence Directorate (DIPOL)
captured Juan Carlos Ruiz Rivera, known in Colombia as "Zero-Six,"
who was the head of the North Valle Cartel. He reportedly
took-over this organization after assassinating his former boss,
then Cartel leader Wilber Varela in January 2008. Ruiz Rivera was
a designated kingpin and fugitive from the United States.

On October 25, the CNP conducted an airmobile assault on the FARC's
Teofilo Forero Mobile Column command post in Caqueta, killing three
FARC combatants. One of the dead was one of Colombia's most wanted
criminals, Herier Triana, aka Comandante "Pata Mala." In addition
to being wanted for extradition to the U.S., "Pata Mala" was one of
the FARC leaders most closely associated with narco-trafficking
activities. According to the CNP, he was responsible for the Club
Nogal bombing (February 7, 2003), the execution of the Turbay Cote
family (December 29, 2000), and the kidnapping and murder of
ex-President Gaviria Trujillo's sister, Liliana Gaviria Trujillo
(April 2007). "Pata Mala" was also reportedly the author of the
frustrated plan to kidnap U.S. Embassy personnel in Melgar, Tolima
in June 2007. Most recently, he developed the failed plan to kill
ex-Minister of Defense Manuel Santos and his family in April 2009,
according to the GOC.

Demobilization: To facilitate the dismantling of the FTOs and help
reintegrate former guerillas and paramilitaries into civilian life,
Colombia developed collective and individual programs for
demobilization. Under the Colombian legal framework for
disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of illegal armed
groups, the High Commission for Peace overseas peace negotiations
with illegal armed groups and the subsequent collective
demobilizations. While available to all FTOs, collective
demobilizations have been applied only to the AUC to date. The
Ministry of Defense manages the individual demobilization or
deserter program applicable to FTOs and any other illegal armed
group in Colombia. Since 2006, the Office of the Presidential
Advisor for Reintegration has directed the GOC Reintegration
Program for demobilized combatants from illegal armed groups.
Between 2002 and 2008, the GOC reports more than 51,000 persons
demobilized - approximately 20,000 under the individual
demobilization program and over 31,000 under the collective
process, and in 2008 a record 3,461 guerrilla fighters deserted
their organizations. Overall demobilization rates slowed in 2009;
however, a spike in ELN desertions combined with hundreds of
guerilla demobilizations from prison under Decree 1059 should lead
to solid progress by the year's end. Beginning in 2007, the GOC
withdrew the opportunity for AUC members to demobilize collectively
or individually. Following this decision, AUC members who turn
themselves in will be investigated and prosecuted under normal
Colombian law, no longer benefiting from alternative sentencing
available through Justice and Peace Law 975 of 2005. While the
Justice and Peace process has yet to produce a conviction, 1,926
confessions of demobilized paramilitary members have been taken;
32,909 crimes confessed - the vast majority murders; 2,666 victim
remains exhumed, and 257,089 victims registered. The USG has
provided assistance to the Colombian Prosecutor General's Office to
carry out the investigation/confessions of demobilized paramilitary
members, including those extradited to the United States.

Corruption: The GOC does not, as a matter of government policy,
encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of
narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or
the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. While
criminal organizations are greatly weakened, concerns remain over

their corrupting influences. In September 2008, two CNP generals,
Antonio Gomez Mendez and Marco Pedreros, were fired as a result of
alleged ties to narco-paramilitary leader Daniel "El Loco" Barrera.
In 2008 and 2009, Colombian Navy (COLNAV) Rear Admiral, retired,
Gabriel Arango Bacci stood trial for allegedly taking bribes to use
his official position to facilitate narcotics shipments, but was
ultimately acquitted. Separately, several members of the GOC were
found to have supported right-wing paramilitary groups. A total of
87 members of the 2006-2010 Congress, 15 current and former
governors, and 34 mayors have been investigated in the
"para-political" scandal, with 34 congressmen, 11 governors, and 24
mayors jailed as a result of the investigations. Both the Supreme
Court and a special unit within the Prosecutor General's office are
continuing their investigations of alleged paramilitary ties to
politicians and other sectors of society. After the November 2008
resignation of Army General Mario Montoya, the Ministry of Defense
has cooperated with the Attorney General's (Fiscalia) Office and
transferred evidence discovered in Initial Investigation of the
Soacha case.

The Prosecutor General's office investigated 48 military members
for collaborating with criminal organizations to dupe and murder
civilians in order to pass them off as members of the FARC or other
illegal armed groups killed in combat. The murders came to be
known as "false positives." It is now in the process of bringing
formal charges against those involved. The Ministry of Defense has
implemented effective measures to remove those responsible from the
Armed Forces, refer them to the Prosecutor General's office, as
well as changing policies that may have encouraged the practice.
Particularly important was the explicit elimination of body count
(or the interpretation of it) as a measure of success. During the
first quarter of 2009 there have been 2 reported claims of false
positives compared to the 106 cases reported in 2008. Colombia is
party to both the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and
the UN Convention against Corruption.

Agreements and Treaties: The GOC is a party to the 1988 UN Drug
Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and
Psychotropic Substances, the OAS Convention on Mutual Legal
Assistance, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized
Crime, and the Protocol on Trafficking in Persons. Colombia signed
a multilateral counternarcotics agreement in 2008 as part of the
Regional Summit on the World Drug Problem, Security, and
Cooperation held in Cartagena. This agreement primarily focuses on
information sharing, but could include training and technical
assistance. In addition, Colombia and Mexico formed a tri-party
group with the U.S. that consists of the DEA Administrator, the
Colombian Minister of Defense, and the Mexican Attorney General.
This group meets at least twice a year to discuss counternarcotics
and other issues of mutual interest. The GOC's 2003 National
Security Strategy (Plan de Seguridad Democratica) meets the
strategic requirements of the UN Drug Convention and the GOC is
generally in line with its other requirements.

A Maritime Ship Boarding Agreement signed in 1997 continued to be
successfully used by the GOC and USG. This agreement facilitates
faster approval to board Colombian-flagged ships in international
waters and has improved counternarcotics cooperation between the
COLNAV and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Since 2006, semiannual
meetings have been held to iron out problems and strengthen
operating procedures. In 2007, the meeting was expanded to include
Ecuador, and in 2008 both Panama and Mexico participated. Given
the importance of this Agreement, in 2009 COLNAV participated with
four officers at the meeting in November in Miami.

The 1999 Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) provides a
basis for the exchange of information to prevent, investigate, and
repress any offense against the customs laws of the U.S. or
Colombia. As a result of CMAA and the strong relationship with
Colombian Customs (DIAN), in 2005 ICE formed a Trade Based Money
laundering Unit which analyzes, identifies and investigates money
laundering utilizing trade between Colombia and the U.S.

In 2004, Colombia and the U.S. signed a revised agreement
establishing the Bilateral Narcotics Control Program, which
provides the framework for specific counternarcotics project
agreements with the various Colombian implementing agencies. This
agreement has been amended annually and is the vehicle for the bulk
of U.S. counternarcotics assistance.

Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance: There is no bilateral
Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in force between the U.S. and
Colombia, but the two countries cooperate extensively via
multilateral agreements and conventions, including the OAS
Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance and the 1988 UN Drug
Convention. Since December 1997, when Colombia revised its
domestic law to permit the extradition of Colombian nationals,
1,017 individuals have been extradited to the United States,
including 951 since President Uribe assumed office in 2002, and a
record 208 defendants in 2008.

Despite several extradition denials by the Colombian Supreme Court
since late 2008 (16 denials; more than 75 percent of total denials
since 1991), the U.S. continues to extradite record number of
individuals from Colombia. As of October 31st there have been 169
extraditions to the United States. The Colombian Office of the
Prosecutor General, along with other GOC agencies, continues to
assist the USG with high-profile prosecutions and trials. Examples
include: Diego Fernando Murillo Bejarano (alias "Don Berna") one
of the former leaders of the AUC extradited in May 2008; Hernando
Gomez Bustamante (alias "Rasguno"), a leader of the Norte del Valle
drug cartel extradited in July 2007; Diego Montoya Sanchez, alias
"Don Diego," a former FBI top-ten most wanted fugitive and
principal leader of the Norte del Valle Cartel extradited in
December 2008 and FARC member Gerardo Antonio Aguilar Ramirez
(alias "Cesar") extradited in July 2009.

Cultivation/Production: Citing record coca eradication in 2008,
the USG and United Nations reported significant declines in
Colombian cocaine production potential and coca cultivation in
Colombia last year. The USG recently reported that cultivation in
2008 was down 29 percent compared to 2007, from 167,000 to 119,000
hectares - the largest ever reported decline in cultivation by the
USG and the first reported drop since 2002. The USG, crediting
sustained aerial eradication operations in 2008, also reported a
decline in pure cocaine production potential of 39 percent, from
485 metric tons (MT) in 2007 to 295 MT in 2008. The United Nations
(UN) reported an 18 percent drop in cultivation in 2008, down to
81,000 hectares, and a 28 percent fall in cocaine production
potential to 430 MT.

The ONDCP and the UNODC numbers represent different methodologies,
but the trends reported have generally been consistent. This
reduction verifies reports from program managers, spray pilots, and
Colombian antinarcotics authorities who report less coca
cultivation. Reporting indicates existing coca is less healthy,
less dense, and in smaller fields. As the estimated area under
cultivation has diminished, cocaine productivity from Colombian
fields is dropping. Nevertheless, illicit cultivation continues to
be a problem in Colombia's national parks, indigenous reserves, and
along the border with Ecuador and Venezuela, where aerial
eradication is not utilized. The GOC does not conduct aerial
spraying within 10 kilometers of international borders due to
objections from neighboring countries. Manual eradication does
occur in border areas, yet it is a slow and dangerous process, due
to the often rugged and isolated terrain, as well as the strategic
importance of the border and certain parklands to the FARC.

Poppy cultivation in Colombia decreased substantially from 2004 to
2009, according to CNP/SIMCI statistics. In FY2009, DEA-sponsored
units in Colombia seized 598 kilograms of heroin. In FY2007 and
FY2008, DEA-sponsored units in Colombia seized slightly less than
400 kilograms of heroin each year. Through September 2009,
Colombia manually eradicated 234 hectares of poppy, compared to 714
hectares in 2007 and 394 hectares in 2008. A reported 90 percent
of the Colombian heroin that is imported into the U.S. goes to the

east coast (Miami to Boston).

Environmental Safeguards: Since the beginning of the complaint
resolution program in 2001, DIRAN has received a total of 12,288
complaints. From July through September 2009, DIRAN received over
3,000 crop damage complaints from Nari????o, the southwest department
where large-scale eradication efforts have been focused. This
unusually large number of complaints within a short time period
accounted for 86 percent of the total amount of complaints being
processed. The influx is likely an organized effort to jam the
system by eradication opponents and coca producers. In 2008, crop
damage complaint forms were found on laptops confiscated from the
FARC. The majority of complaints arrived incomplete, thus
burdening DIRAN, which determines each complaint's validity. DIRAN
is working aggressively to address the backlog of complaints which,
as of September 2009, was 2,284 cases. An estimated 1,000 cases
will be closed by November 2009. The CNP recently acquired a
high-resolution camera that is expected to enhance verification and
complaint missions, and should also assist with the speedy closure
of the Nari????o cases.

The aerial eradication program follows strict GOC laws and
regulations, verified twice a year by an inter-institutional
complaints committee to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness
of the environmental measures. Soil and water samples are taken
prior to the commencement of spray operations and afterwards to
measure the level of chemical residue. Analysis shows that residue
levels have never fallen outside of the established norms, thus
causing no significant harm to the environment.

To address the concerns of human and environmental risks, in 2005
the Organization of American States (OAS) published a study noting
that "the chemicals used to aerially eradicate coca did not pose
significant risks to humans or most wildlife." Several outstanding
questions were addressed in the OAS' August 2009 published report,
which concluded that "overall the risks to sensitive wildlife and
human health from the use of glyphosate in the control of coca
production are small to negligible." One study assessed the amount
of drift that occurs during spray operations, and the effects on
amphibians, a particularly sensitive part of the ecosystem. The
study concluded that "most of the spray safely deposits within the
target area or a few hundreds of meters downwind of the
application. An appropriate no-spray buffer to protect sensitive
plants from spray drift exposure would be 50 to 120 m."
Additionally, experiments demonstrated that amphibians in their
natural habitat are not at risk when in shallow pools of water,
within five meters of spray operations, when natural sediments are
present. In previous studies it was determined that the chemical
mixture "was a negligible health risk to humans, and therefore
exposure to spray drift presents even smaller risks." The GOC
continues to investigate all claims of harm to human health
allegedly caused by aerial spraying; however, the Colombian
National Institute of Health has not verified a single case of
adverse human health effects linked to aerial eradication.

Drug Flow/Transit: Shipments of cocaine and heroin are transported
by road, river, and small civilian aircraft from the Colombian
source zone, principally in the southern regions of the country, to
the transit zone north and west of the Andes Mountains. Lax
antinarcotics enforcement and a permissive and corrupt environment
in other countries in the region have prompted traffickers to
increasingly use these more permissive environments to stage
shipments of illicit drugs originating in Colombia for onward
shipment to Mexico, the Caribbean, the U.S., Europe, and Africa.

Underdeveloped and remote areas of the Pacific coast of Colombia
are also increasingly utilized by traffickers seeking to evade
interdiction forces. It is estimated that up to 40 percent of the
cocaine leaving Colombia goes through the complex river network in
the south-central region to the southwestern coastal shore, mainly
in shallow draft boats. There, the narcotics are readied for bulk
maritime shipment in go-fast boats and self-propelled,
semi-submersibles (SPSS). Commercial fishing vessels, formerly a
popular conveyance, have fallen out of favor since the GOC began
requiring such vessels to be equipped with vessel monitoring
systems. Traffickers have increasingly turned to SPSS to move
multi-ton loads of cocaine. These vessels are constructed of
fiberglass or steel and are anywhere from 45 to 82 feet in length.
They have a range of 2,000 miles and can carry three to four crew
members and an average of five MT of cocaine. In 2009, 20 SPSSs

were interdicted or scuttled with more than 70 MT of cocaine
estimated to be on board.

Small aircraft from clandestine airstrips in eastern and
southeastern Colombia are also used to transit drugs to neighboring
countries, where it is either consumed or transferred to airplanes
and maritime vessels for onward shipment. As of October 1, 2009,
there have been less than 30 illegal flights in Colombia. The
reduced number of illegal flights in Colombia has allowed Air
Bridge Denial assets to perform maritime patrols, resulting in
eight vessels impounded and one SPSS scuttled in 2009.

The majority of Colombian heroin originates from the highland areas
of Nari????o and Cauca. Current investigative intelligence indicates
that larger heroin shipments (5-20 kg) from Nari????o are being
transported via vehicle to Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador, and
shipped to the U.S. via multiple couriers. Other smuggling routes
include via vehicle to the North Pacific coast and transported to
Central America via fast boats and sent by postal courier services
to the U.S. via Central America. The shipments that make it to
Central America are predominately reaching the U.S. via Mexico. In
addition, smaller amounts of heroin (less than five kg) are
transported via human couriers in clothing, luggage or ingestion.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction: The GOC, under the leadership
of the Ministry of Social Protection and with UNODC support, made
substantial gains in implementing the National Drug Consumption
Reduction Plan's drug demand and addiction prevention goals in
2009. With no FY2008 funds and working with previous years'
funding, NAS's Drug Demand Prevention (DDP) office helped the GOC
strengthen civil society and implement the National Drug
Consumption Reduction Plan, support initiatives by international
organizations, and conduct research that will provide a baseline
for drug demand prevention policies in Colombia. These efforts
included securing INL support to establish self-sustaining
community drug demand prevention coalitions in Colombia using
U.S.-based Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)
trainers and employing three NAS-supported NGOs: "Mentor" in
Bogota, "Surgir" in Medellin, and "Lions Club International" in
Barranquilla. NAS provided a grant to "Lions Club International"
to support an agreement with CADCA that will allow it to expand its
community-based efforts.

NAS has supported the Colombian National Police Drug Abuse
Resistance Education (DARE) program since its inception in Colombia
in 1997. NAS helped DARE expand throughout all 32 departments
where CNP officers provide security in vulnerable communities,
arrest narco-traffickers, and improve the overall image of the
police. In 2009, NAS financed the expansion of the program to high
schools and parents and provided support for the national poster
contest, the interactive drug demand prevention bus, and the new
DARE office in Tumaco, Narino.

NAS supported a national youth contest to implement the National
Drug Consumption Reduction Plan's drug demand and addiction
prevention goals throughout Colombia via youth projects. NAS
provided funding for the third phase of the OAS Nursing School
Project that has so far provided training to more than 30,000
health professionals from around the country to prevent drug
consumption, treat addiction, and provide rehabilitation options.
NAS continues to support research and academic efforts that provide
valuable indicators for policy creation. NAS provided financial
and technical support for the first National Household Drug
Consumption Survey to take place since 1996. Published in 2009, it
became the most representative survey in Latin America with almost
30,000 surveys completed. The Survey's results were discussed
during the June 25-26 International Day against Drug Abuse and
Illicit Trafficking attended by 300 academics, police officers,
local government leaders, and NGO members from 27 departments. NAS
has also provided funding and technical expertise for a nation-wide
Ministry of Social Protection/National Directorate of Dangerous
Drugs/Ministry of Education study of drug consumption in schools by
12-17 year-olds.

Twenty three departments have drug addiction treatment centers. In
areas of high consumption of drugs such as the Nari????o, Caldas,
Quind????o, Cauca and Boyac???? departments, a corresponding increase
treatment centers or diversity of treatment has not yet occurred.
Treatment services are mainly provided by private entities and

NGOs, mostly using the therapeutic community and the residential

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation: The adoption of new tactics by
narco-traffickers, including shifting coca cultivation and cocaine
production to new areas, and expanding cultivation into areas
off-limits to the spray program such as national parks, indigenous
reserves and the area along the Ecuador border, has enabled them to
continue to produce and export cocaine to the United States and
Europe. In response, Colombia has adjusted its approach to focus
on establishing a sustainable government presence and integrated
rural development in major coca growing and FARC-controlled
regions. As Colombia increases its capacity to take and hold its
territory from criminal groups and narco-terrorists, NAS will
continue to support the GOC with airlift capacity to ensure
security and support interdiction, manual eradication, and
humanitarian missions.

Aerial and manual eradication operations are closely coordinated to
complement each other and optimize capabilities. Aerial
eradication still remains essential to eliminate coca in remote
regions and in FARC-controlled areas that are too dangerous for
manual eradication operations.

Sustainable nationalization, or the transfer of skills and funding
responsibility as well as operational and managerial control for
counternarcotics programs from the USG to the GOC, continued at a
rapid pace in 2009. The USG removed 18 UH-1N helicopters from the
COLAR Aviation contract and extended the loan/lease program until
December 2009. The GOC formally requested these aircraft in April
2009 and title transfer is scheduled at the end of the year. Due
to budget constraints in the Aerial Eradication Program, the last
USG-funded contractor helicopter package was de-scoped from the
program contract and the Colombian National Police will assume this
mission. The five UH-1N aircraft flown in the program are being
loaned to the COLAR Aviation in November of 2009 with the intent to
transfer title in early 2010. Current nationalization plans call
for 5 [BAN1] UH-60 Blackhawks to be turned over to COLAR Aviation
in October, 2010.

In the Air Bridge Denial program, the USG trained COLAF SR-26
maintenance technicians so they were able to assume maintenance
duties in January 2009. SR-560 maintenance technicians have been
trained to assume maintenance duties in January 2010, and the
mission avionics system has been upgraded in all five SR-560s.

In October 2008, the GOC took over responsibility for paying for
aviation fuel used by the police and military for eradication and
interdiction operations. Nationalization also extends to fleet
rationalization, which involves consolidating available types of
aircraft and maintenance functions to simplify operations. In
early 2008, three additional AT-802 aircraft were delivered,
allowing the USG to retire two other models of aircraft, leaving
one model for the GOC to support for aerial eradication. The
Colombian National Police assumed maintenance for 13 GOC-titled
aircraft in March 2008 and aviation fuel for ARAVI and Aerial
Eradication aircraft in October 2008, which resulted in a total
program cost reduction of over $15 million USD.

U.S. and in-country training continues to increase capabilities of
pilots and mechanics, resulting in USG contractor support
reductions averaging ten percent a year. Additionally, the USG's
social assistance programs, ranging from alternative development to
vulnerable populations to governance, have made strides in turning
programming over to the GOC, and plans call for a substantial and
strategic shift in the GOC's management and funding of the

initiatives in the coming years.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) training activities
in 2009 included a three-week International Task Force Agent
Training (ITAT) course for 14 CNP DIJIN investigators at the
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia, with a
concentration on money laundering investigations. ICE Bogota does
asset forfeiture to attack the root of transnational criminal
organizations and continues to support the DIJIN money laundering
investigative group that performs financial analysis on targets of
interest to ICE, DEA, FBI, USSC, and IRS.

To date in 2009, Colombia seized over $130 million USD in assets
from criminal organizations. In September 2009, ICE Bogota
coordinated an investigation into a multi-national criminal
organization dedicated to smuggling bulk cash. This joint effort
ultimately resulted in the seizure of $41 million USD at the
seaport of Buenaventura, Colombia. Additionally ICE Bogota
coordinated efforts with ICE Mexico resulting in additional
seizures totaling $11 million USD at the seaport of Manzanillo,

ICE's Border Enforcement Security Taskforce (BEST) teams are
multi-agency teams developed as a comprehensive approach to
identifying, disrupting and dismantling criminal organizations
posing significant threats to border security. BEST teams
incorporate personnel from ICE, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
(CBP), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigation,
U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Attorney's Office along with other
key federal, state, local and foreign law enforcement agencies, to
include Mexico, Canada, Colombia and Argentina. ICE will post
three Colombian National Police Officers in the BEST units in San
Diego, New York, and Miami. The CNP Officers will participate for
two years. ICE strongly believes that the BEST program will
tremendously help in the fight against multi-national criminal

Alternative Development: By mid-2009, Joint USG and GOC alternative
development programs had supported the cultivation of over 634,684
hectares of agricultural, forestry plantation and/or natural forest
management activities and had completed approximately 1,261 social
and productive infrastructure projects over the last seven years
with communities that agree to remain illicit crop free. More than
416,421 families in 18 departments have benefited from these
programs. In addition, to ensure that Colombians are provided with
alternatives, these projects have leveraged over $738 million USD
in private and public sector funding for alternative development
initiatives. In the future, USAID-assisted alternative development
("livelihoods") programming will be aligned in large part with the
GOC's National Consolidation Plan, which identifies an integrated
and geographically targeted approach as the most effective way to
consolidate security and development gains, reduce coca cultivation
and the efficacy of illegally armed groups, and bring state
services in targeted conflict regions throughout the country.
USAID's programs will include activities under the Mission's
traditional alternative development, governance, vulnerable
populations, and demobilization and reintegration portfolios, but
with a significant change: implementation under this new phase will
be fully integrated as opposed to separate, stove-piped
initiatives, concentrating on a regional focus and expertise,
rather than sectoral foci. GOC efforts will be supported by, not
led by, USG programs.

Support for Democracy and Judicial Reform: The USG is providing
extensive assistance to reform and strengthen the criminal justice
system and the rule of law in Colombia. The transition to an oral
accusatory criminal justice system was fully implemented throughout
Colombia on January 1, 2008, although the old criminal procedure
code remains in effect alongside the new code with the date of the

criminal offense determining which code applies. The USG has
provided training and technical assistance to support the new roles
of judges, prosecutors, forensic scientists, public defenders, and
police investigators in a conceptual and practical understanding of
the new accusatory system. This assistance focuses on practical
"hands on" training, including crime scene management, evidence,
investigation and prosecution strategy, interviewing witnesses,
courtroom proceedings including crime scene, witness interview and
courtroom simulations. The program has provided training to more
than 60,000 prosecutors, judges, public defenders, criminal
investigators, and forensic experts.

Specialized training and assistance has been provided to prosecutor
and investigator units focusing on criminal cases in the areas of
human rights, murder, sex crimes, money laundering, narcotics,
corruption, intellectual property, and organized crime. Extensive
forensic assistance has been provided in the areas of DNA,
ballistics, fingerprints and false documents, including training,
report writing and courtroom testimony, equipment and enhancement
of forensic laboratories. Particular emphasis has been made on the
development of exhumation teams to properly exhume mass grave sites
connected to investigations and confessions of paramilitary and
guerilla organizations, as well as to enhance DNA identification of
victim remains. Extensive assistance has also been provided in the
areas of witness protection, prosecutor and judge protection and
court security.

Additionally, the USG has helped to refurbish or build 45 physical
court rooms in urban areas and 14 virtual court rooms in rural
zones, and have either refurbished or equipped 22 public defender
offices. Finally, the USG has assisted the GOC to construct 59
justice houses throughout Colombia that have provided formal and
informal justice sector services to over eight million Colombians.

Military Justice: With USG funding, the GOC trained 48 Judges and
prosecutors in their Military Penal Justice Corps in 2009. This
included a one-year course for eight Magistrates and ten
certification exams for Military Tribunal Court Justices. The goal
of this effort was to build capability for Magistrates and
Prosecutors to convene military courts to adjudicate legal
violations. The Rules of Engagement and Rules for the Use of Force
(ROE/RUF) Initiative was a crucial part of USG/GOC engagement.

An International Conference was held April 16-17, 2009, to identify
Military Justice and Human Rights issues of concern for the
Colombian Military and civilian leadership. This effort enhanced
the development of a new Colombian Operations Manual to be
published in November 2009, which includes newly established
ROEs/RUFs for all Colombian ground forces as published in two
directives signed by the Minister of Defense in May and October
2009. The USG supported a Ministry of Defense $453,000 USD ROE/RUF
Colombian Military training program, which began on September 1,
2009. By the end of 2010, all Colombian ground troops and
commanders will have received new training and support materials,
reducing risk of human rights violations associated with military

The Colombian Military's investigative capabilities are carried out
by the Inspector General. USG funding provided for the training of
90 Inspectors General (IGs) throughout the country. There has been
extensive support to Military Justice and Human Rights in the
Colombian Military over the years. All USG engagement incorporates
principles of Respect for Human Rights and International
Humanitarian Law.

The Road Ahead: In 2010, the GOC will continue to dismantle the
DTOs, FTOs and illegal armed groups that control the drug trade in
Colombia, hoping to build on the success of the many HVTs captured

and extradited to the U.S. As these groups are defeated, a
challenge remains in finding and derailing smaller and
less-organized successor criminal groups. Nationalizing
counternarcotics funding and operations currently supported by the
USG, while maintaining successful operational results, will remain
a top priority, especially in the area of aviation and social
assistance programming, which are critical to all counternarcotics
efforts in Colombia.

Other challenges for 2010 include articulating and promoting human
rights issues in Colombia; advancing operational aspects of the
Embassy's Colombia Strategic Development Initiative in conjunction
with Colombia's National Consolidation Plan; addressing the need
for more police as the country transitions to a post-conflict
environment; maintaining the substantial decrease in coca
cultivation by successfully coordinating aerial and manual
eradication efforts and alternative development programs to inhibit
the rapid replanting of coca and increased illicit cultivation in
no-spray zones; and encouraging the rule of law and good governance
practices to confront corruption. To consolidate the progress from
2009 and prior years, the GOC will need to continue to strengthen
government presence in conflict areas while improving institutional
capacity to provide services and economic opportunities, using the
Macarena Coordination Center for Integrated Action as a template
for this effort. However, much remains to be done in Macarena and
in other parts of the country to replicate the process. The GOC
still must make efforts to gain control of the vast Pacific coastal
zones and border areas, demobilize and reintegrate ex-combatants,
and advance the reconciliation and victim reparations processes.

V. Statistical Tables














Net Cultivation1(ha)











Aerial Eradication1(ha)











Manual Eradication (ha)






HC1(cocaine): Potential 1.2(mt)











Opium Poppy

Net Cultivation1 (ha)










Aerial Eradication(ha)5








Manual Eradication (ha)






Heroin:Potential1 (mt)










Coca Base/Paste (mt)











Cocaine HC1(mt)











Combined HC1 & Base (mt)































Labs Destroyed

Cocaine HC1























VI. Chemical Control

The Colombian National Police Chemical Sensitive Intelligence Unit
(SIU) was formed in June of 1998. The unit's primary mission was
to confirm the existence of companies bringing in chemicals from
other countries including the United States. They were also
charged with inspecting the companies to confirm that they were
conducting a legal business. The primary mission of the group
changed near the end of 2000 when the focus shifted to
investigative work as opposed to solely regulatory inspections.

In 2007, the regulatory function of the SIU was transferred to its
own unit and the SIU maintained its investigative focus. The SIU
unit is currently comprised of 40 members, while the Regulatory
Unit is comprised of 20 members. The SIU is spread out over four
cities in Colombia (Bogota, Medellin, Villavicencio, and Cali), and
the Regulatory Unit is based in Bogota but travels as needed to
other cities within Colombia.

Chemical trafficking is a serious problem in Colombia. Unlike
illicit drugs, chemicals have a legitimate use. The onus is on the
police to prove that the chemicals are intended for illicit drug
production. The primary mission of the SIU is to target and
dismantle large-scale chemical trafficking organizations that
provide chemicals to cocaine, heroin and synthetic drug producing
organizations within Colombia and Mexico. The SIU and Regulatory
Unit are also responsible for spearheading the multi-national
chemical targeting operation Six Frontiers ("Seis Fronteras"). The
SIU coordinates all operations within Colombia in which
participants include the Colombian Military, DAS, CTI, Colombian
Prosecutors office, Colombian Customs, and various other agencies.
This operation has resulted in huge, multi-hundred ton quantities
of chemicals being seized by participating countries (with Colombia
as the lead). By October 2009, the SIU had arrested 108 people and
seized 2,203 gallons of hydrochloric acid, 2,197 kg of calcium
chloride, 76,781 kg of sulfuric acid, 260 kg of active carbon, 3.2
kg of acetic anhydride, 145 kg of potassium permanganate, 1,400 kg
of sodium carbonate, 2,350 kg of urea, 38,732 kg of cement, 1,630
gallons of methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), 325 kg of sodium
metabisulfite, 478 gallons of gasoline, 371 gallons of diesel fuel,
16,284 kg of solvent #1A, 5,644 kg of isopropyl alcohol, 47,400 kg
of thinner, 8,150 kg of potassium chloride, 70 kg of lime, 500 kg
of caustic soda, 9,550 gallons of N-propyl acetate, 60 gallons of
acetone, and 19 kg of ephedrine.

Ephedrine seizures in Colombia increased slightly in 2009.
Although Colombian drug trafficking organizations do profit from
the illicit trafficking of ephedrine, a key ingredient in
decongestant medication, there is little evidence that the
traffickers are using the substance as a chemical precursor in
large-scale methamphetamine production. There have been minor
seizures of ecstasy in Colombia, but no indication of significant
production or export. The GOC has held a number of seminars and
training sessions on this emerging threat.



[BAN1]Either spell out or use Arabic numerals consistently for
numbers ten and under.