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Cablegate: Colombia's Junglas -- Antinarcotics Police with An

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #2641/01 2051202
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231202Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3713
INFO RHEHOND/DIR ONDCP WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL//SCJ2/SCJ3/SCJ5//
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 9054
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0094
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 7072

UNCLAS BOGOTA 002641

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR INL/LP AND WHA/AND

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR PGOV PREL KCRM PTER MX EC AF CO
SUBJECT: COLOMBIA'S JUNGLAS -- ANTINARCOTICS POLICE WITH AN
INTERNATIONAL IMPACT

REFTEL: BOGOTA 1988

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: While recent GOC success liberating the hostages
has persuasively demonstrated the enormous operational strides made
by Colombian Army intelligence forces, GOC Special Forces
proficiency extends beyond the Colombian Army. The Narcotics
Affairs Section (NAS) Bogota-supported elite Jungla units (Colombian
Antinarcotics Police Commandos) employ dedicated intelligence
support and helicopters to interdict large quantities of illegal
narcotics and destroy drug production facilities throughout
Colombia. The Junglas are often the force of choice for GOC and USG
authorities seeking to capture High Value Targets (HVT), sQh as
narcotrafficking and guerrilla leaders. The Junglas have also
deployed to help protect high-risk manual eradication operations.QUSG-supported Jungla international training courses and mobile
training teams enhance the professionalization of regQal neighbors
and important U.S. partners, including Afghanistan and Mexico. The
high degree of self-reliance and superb Jungla training regimen make
the Junglas one of the Embassy's most effective and nationalized
programs. END SUMMARY.

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Internationally Recognized Professionals
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2. (SBU) Widely considered to be among the finest Special Forces
units in Latin America, over a dozen Colombian and foreign
newspapers, magazines, and television programs have profiled the
Junglas in the last year alone. The Junglas consist of 500
specially selected and trained policemen divided into three regional
companies (Bogota, Santa Marta, and Tulua) and at each location are
supported by Colombian Antinarcotics Police (DIRAN in Spanish)
assigned aircraft. Jungla tactical equipment, much of it supplied
by NAS as part of Plan Colombia, has provided them a distinct
tactical advantage over narcoterrorist threats. Jungla individual
equipment models those used by U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers,
and includes latest generation weapon systems, encrypted
communications, and protective equipment to enhance survivability.
Jungla personnel also undergo regular human rights training and
vetting, both as part of local courses and U.S. training.

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- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Intelligence and Air Mobility
Key to Mission Success
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3. (SBU) Intelligence and air mobility (See Reftel) are key to
successful Junglas operations. The Junglas depend heavily on Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA) and DIRAN- provided intelligence,
as well as NAS-supported police aviation assets, to identify and
reach otherwise inaccessible narcotics targets. Intelligence
officers work closely with the Junglas to screen informants and
analyze intelligence to locate cocaine hydrochloride (HCl) labs
hidden under jungle canopy and typically holding at least $500,000
USD in infrastructure investment, plus large quantities of cocaine.
Although informants are the most reliable method for locating these
remote targets, the DIRAN's C-26 Intelligence Surveillance and
Reconnaissance (ISR) fixed-wing aircraft also contribute
significantly to Jungla operations. This aircraft, equipped with
infrared and communications intercept equipment, helps develop
intelligence prior to each operation. DIRAN's Air Intelligence
Analysis Center then uses C-26 generated information to develop
target packages for the Junglas. During operations, well trained
police helicopter pilots deliver Junglas to the target while the
C-26 serves as an airborne command and control aircraft.

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Record Interdiction Successes at 2008 Midpoint
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4. (SBU) Jungla units have grown in both strength and effectiveness
in recent years. In 2007, they achieved their highest interdiction
numbers to date as they destroyed 62 HCl labs and 821 base labs,
while also seizing over 28 metric tons of cocaine and 11 metric tons
of marijuana. While 2007 showed very good results, the Junglas may
do even better in 2008. To date, the Junglas have: 1) more than
doubled 2007 seizures of marijuana to a current total of 25 metric
tons; 2) equaled last year's total cocaine seizures of 28 metric
tons; and 3) destroyed over 800 combined HCl and base labs. These
impressive accomplishments put the Junglas on track to far Qceed

previous year interdiction results.

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The Force of Choice for High Profile Missions
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5. (SBU) The specialized training, high alert status and inherent
air mobility assets of the Junglas make them a natural choice for
time-sensitive and complex HVT missions, as well as for protecting
vulnerable manual eradicators. Their efforts have helped lead to
the capture of leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(FARC), National Liberation Army (ELN), Self-Defense Forces of
Colombia (AUC), and other major narcotrafficking groups in recent
years. The Junglas often execute these HVT missions jointly with
the Colombian military, and in particular the Colombian Air Force.
As the GOC has increased its emphasis on manual eradication,
narcoterrorist groups have similarly raised their efforts to counter
these operations with mines, small arms, and mortar fire. When
manual eradication efforts in CaucasQ Antioquia were struggling
due to repeated guerrilla attacks in February 2008, the Junglas
deployed to improve the local security situation - a task they
successfully accomplished - but at a cost of two Junglas killed and
five wounded.

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Training for Success and Assisting U.S. Partners
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6. (SBU) A fifty-man Jungla instructor cadre augmented by a small
team of U.S. Army Special Forces personnel run the 18-week Jungla
training program. The program focuses on improving Jungla advanced
skills and incorporating new technologies and lessons learned from
around the world into the training. Jungla instructors are drawn
from experienced members of the operational companies and can
receive assignments for up to five years before returning to the
operational units. Specialized training in the course includes
small arms employment, drug lab destruction, night operations, small
unit tactics, demolitions, and medical training. Selected Jungla
personnel also receive advanced training at the Western Hemisphere
Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) at Fort Benning,
Georgia and at the Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA), in San
Antonio, Texas. Beginning in 2007, the Jungla School opened its
doors to international students, training to date 70 students from
eleven Latin American countries and Afghanistan. In 2006 and 2007,
the Junglas sent Mobile Training Teams (MTTs) to work with
U.S.-sponsored Narcotics Interdiction Units in Kabul, Afghanistan
and Baeza, Ecuador. The Mexico Police Academy is currently hosting
a nine-man Jungla Instructor MTT that is training 60 Mexican
policemen through August 2008 in Jalisco.

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A Bright Future
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7. (SBU) The Jungla Program is one of NAS's most "sustainably
nationalized" programs. USG assistance channels through a single
Department of State field advisor who directly works with Colombian
National Police commanders to coordinate training, operational
assistance, and logistical support. Jungla training is led by their
own instructors, operational missions are planned and conducted by
their host nation chain of command, and the increasing frequency of
joint operations allows the GOC to leverage different service
capabilities to accomplish complex missions in the most efficient
and effective manner. While USG logistical support is still present
and essential, its importance will diminish as the GOC assumes
increasing responsibility for these functions in the years to come.


8. (SBU) COMMENT: The Jungla program directly compliments the
overall USG antinarcotics effort in Colombia, including aerial
eradication, manual eradication, and air bridge denial. NAS Bogota
expects to deliver three more upgraded C-26s to DIRAN within the
next year. The many Jungla contributions to antinarcotics efforts,
both in Colombia and on the international scene, demonstrate the
high return that this sustained USG investment continues to yield.


BROWNFIELD

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