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Cablegate: Air Bridge Denial: June 2008 Program Update

VZCZCXYZ0012
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #2623/01 2031504
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211504Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3705
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHEHOND/DIRONDCP WASHDC
RUEAWJC/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUWDQAC/US INTERDICTION COORD WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC//ICE/CNO//
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUMIJTF/DIRJIATF SOUTH KEY WEST FL

UNCLAS BOGOTA 002623

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR INL/LP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR PREL MOPS MASS PGOV CO
SUBJECT: AIR BRIDGE DENIAL: JUNE 2008 PROGRAM UPDATE

REF: 2003 STATE 265910

1. (U) SUMMARY. This is the monthly Air Bridge Denial (ABD)
activity report for June, 2008, as required by Reftel. The
Government of Colombia (GOC) sorted 5,867 tracks during June. Three
were Unknown, Assumed Suspect (UAS). There were no Phase I/II/III
events with one Law Enforcement End game ending in impoundment of an
aircraft. There were four events in missions in Support of
Suppression of Illegal Maritime Traffic (SSIMT). Three of them
ended in law enforcement end games resulting in two GOFAST boats and
two other ships impounded with 2.2 Metric Tons of cocaine and six
arrests. END SUMMARY.

-------
Tracks
-------

2. (SBU) In June 2008, 5,867 tracks were sorted over Colombia, and
three were declared UAS aircraft. Host Nation responded to two but
was unable to locate the UAS. The third one ended in a Law
Enforcement (LE) end game with an aircraft impounded.

-----------
LE End Game
-----------

3. (SBU) On 26 June, 2008, an aircraft took off from Olaya Herrera
airport in Medellin. The aircraft filed a flight plan with the tail
number of another aircraft which was also in the airport at the
time. The aircraft had a flight plan for an airport north of
Medellin but changed destinations without notifying Air Traffic
Control. The Colombian Air Force sent an SR-560 tracker to search
for the aircraft but it did not locate it. The next day, another
SR-560 was sent to find the aircraft and located it in an illegal
runway, with armed, camouflaged individuals around it. During the
ensuing communications, it was disclosed that the individuals at the
site were members of the Colombian National Police that proceeded to
impound the aircraft, an Aero Commander two-engine aircraft. No
illegal substances were found.

-----
SSIMT
-----

3. (SBU) On June 12, 2008, an SR-560 tracker was performing an
SSIMT patrol in contact with a Colombian Coast Guard ship that was
looking for a suspect ship. The SR-560 located the ship visually,
which was towing a smaller boat and led the Coast Guard ship to the
suspect. The smaller boat had been released from towing by the time
the Coast Guard ship arrived. Both suspect ships were searched and
approximately 257.8 kilos of cocaine were found inside the smaller
ship. Both ships and the cocaine were impounded and six persons were
arrested.

4. (SBU) On June 17, 2008, a Colombian Air Force A-27 aircraft on
patrol along the northern Guajira Peninsula coast detected visually
a GOFAST boat with two people aboard. When the occupants of the
GOFAS noticed the aircraft they returned to shore and left the boat
at approximately N1208.53/W7208.65. The A-37 was eventually
replaced by another A-37 and a Citation SR-560. Two Coast Guard
ships were guided to the GOFAST. The ships located and impounded the
GOFAST. No drugs were located.

5. (SBU) On June 18, 2008, an SR-560 tracker on SSIMT patrol near
the Gulf of Uraba in northern Colombia sighted visually and on radar
a GOFAST boat headed northwest at approximately N0831/W77705. The
boat initially slowed down then accelerated to approximately 30
knots. A Coast Guard Ship was scrambled to intercept. The GOFAST
entered the Panama Air Defense Zone and the tracker did not receive
authorization to enter, so it lost contact with the GOFAST.

6. (SBU) On June 19, 2008, an SR-560 tracker on SSIMT patrol near
the Gulf of Uraba in northern Colombia sighted visually and on radar
a GOFAST boat headed northwest at approximately N0837W7659. The
boat had three people aboard in addition to approximately 20 gas
cans and several packages with unknown cargo. Three Colombian Coast
Guard ships were scrambled for the intercept. Two A-37 aircraft and
one AH-60 helicopter gunship were also scrambled. The GOFAST went
into a river in the Choco Department and was hidden. The three
Coast Guard interceptors were led to the boat by the aircraft in the
area. When the Coast Guard members arrived at the site they were
fired upon. They repelled the attack and were later reinforced by
Colombian Army and marine soldiers. The attackers left the area.
The GOC force found 79 packages of cocaine containing approximately
1973 kilos of cocaine. They also impounded the GOFAST and assorted
cargo including gasoline, cellular phones and spare parts.

-----------------
Flight Operations
-----------------

3. (SBU) In June 2008, the Citations flew 186 hours in 72 sorties
with an Operational Readiness (OR) rate of 77 percent. Of the 72
sorties, 36 were for GOC ABD intelligence gathering and patrolling;
three for training; eight were for operational support; 15 were for
maritime patrolling; and 10 were in reaction to GOC-provided
information. The SR-26 aircraft 5741 flew 77 hours in 29 sorties
with a 96% OR rate. Twenty eight SR-26 sorties were in support of
ABD, of which 12 were maritime missions. One sortie was for non-ABD
purposes. SR-26 tail number 5742 is still out of commission after a
ground mishap. Further investigation disclosed that it cannot be
brought back to operational status. Usable spare parts will be
removed and the remains turned over to GOC for disposal

BROWNFIELD

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