Cablegate: Nas Monthly Report for June


DE RUEHBO #2545/01 1961956
R 141956Z JUL 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In June the Government of Colombia (GOC)
aerially eradicated 17,953 hectares. The Colombian National Police
(CNP) seized 28.3 metric tons of cocaine and coca base, 19.3 metric
tons of marijuana, and 22 kilos of heroin. They also captured 26
metric tons of precursor chemicals. END SUMMARY


2. (SBU) In June, the aerial eradication program sprayed 17,953
hectares of coca. AT-802s operating from Cumaribo,
Saravena/Caucasia and Tumaco sprayed 4,045, 5,666 and 8,242 hectares
respectively. This brings the year-to-date total to 71,863 hectares
of coca sprayed. The spray campaign in Narino continues to produce
good results, especially in the Rio Patia basin. Good weather in
Cumaribo also aided this month's results. Eradication aircraft were
involved in six hostile fire incidents resulting in twelve impacts.
This year there have been 40 hostile fire incidents and 93 impacts.


3. (SBU) The GOC wrapped up Phase II of its 2008 manual eradication
campaign. During Phase II (April 1 to June 30), the GME program
manually eradicated 16,588 hectares of coca - bringing their
year-to-date total to 29,553 hectares. Phase II operations were
primarily concentrated in "zone one" - Antioquia, Bolivar, Cordoba
and Santander - and along the Ecuador border in Putumayo and Narino.
A smaller number of GME groups also operated in Meta and Cauca.
Separate from the GME program, the Colombian Army (COLAR) and the
CNP conducted manual eradication as part of their normal operations.
Through the end of June, COLAR has eradicated 5,704 hectares of
coca, 155 hectares of poppy, and ten hectares of marijuana, and the
CNP has eradicated 571 hectares of coca, 102 hectares of poppy, and
four hectares of marijuana. Through the end of June a total of
36,099 hectares of illicit crops have manually eradicated. In June,
three separate landmine incidents killed two eradicators and one
EMCAR security personnel and injured two eradicators and one
auxiliary. Through June, nineteen people (eight civilians and
eleven security personnel) have died during this year's manual
eradication operations, surpassing the sixteen killed during the
entire 2007 campaign.

4. (SBU) Phase III is scheduled to begin on July 15 and will end in
mid-September. The GOC plans to increase the number of GME groups
to 274 in Phase III, as compared to 180 in Phase II. The GME's will
operate in twelve departments with a coca eradication goal of 44,685
hectares for the period. A reduced number of GME groups will
continue to operate in "zone one" to follow through with President
Uribe's order to eradicate 100 percent of the coca in Antioquia.
The GOC will also ramp up manual eradication operations in Putumayo
and send new GME's to the departments of Choco, Valle de Cauca,
Narino, Meta, Vichada, La Guajira and Norte de Santander.


5. (SBU) In June, the interagency complaints committee received 38
new claims of alleged spray damage to legal crops. NAS paid
approximately $5,375 USD in final payments to two complainants from
Narino. There are currently 987 pending complaints.

6. (SBU) On the 18th NAS and GOC officials traveled to Vichada to
verify eight alleged complaints of crop damage. Coca was found at
all eight sites, and the claims were disallowed.

7. (SBU) NAS received a health complaint from Guayacana, Narino
alleging that a child may have died as a result of glyphosate
exposure caused by the aerial eradication program. A toxicologist
from the Colombian National Institute of Health (INS), a forensic
doctor, and members of the CNP collected samples for analysis. The
results determined that the child died from bronchial pneumonia and
not from glyphosate exposure. A second health complaint alleged
that eighteen people were sprayed with glyphosate in Putumayo;
however, blood and urine samples analyzed found no trace of the
chemical in their bodies.


8. (SBU) PCHP aircraft flew a total of 1,029.9 hours. Five hundred
fifty missions transported 3,317 passengers and 195,150 pounds of
cargo. Aircraft operating from Tumaco, Cumaribro, Barrancabermeja,
San Jose, and Tolemaida continued to provide air assaults, air
movements, reconnaissance, medical evacuations, and support missions
for the COLAR counter-drug (CD) brigade and other vetted units.
PCHP accumulated 35.8 hours supporting seven medical evacuation
flights that transported twelve people. Year-to-date PCHP aircraft
have accumulated 277.2 hours supporting the GOC's manual eradication

9. (SBU) In June COLAR aircrew training on the UH-60 and UH-II
aircraft continued to be limited due to major unscheduled aircraft
repairs and the need to reassign aircraft, usually dedicated to
training, for higher priority mission support operations.

10. (SBU) On the 26th, the GOC and USG signed an agreement that
gives COLAR a no cost loan for eighteen UH-1N helicopters through
December of 2008. As part of the handover of the aircraft, PCHP
conducted a total inventory of the UH-1N aircraft, parts and


11. (SBU) ARAVI's NAS-supported fleet flew 2,075 mission hours. The
seven UH-60 Black Hawks closed out the month with 214 flight hours.
The Bell 212 fleet flew 280 mission hours. The Huey II fleet flew
992 hours. Five of the fleet's aircraft are down for depot
maintenance. The DC-3 fleet flew 395 hours. ARAVI awaits delivery
of the first C-26 undergoing upgrades of intelligence gathering
equipment at factory in the United States. The estimated arrival
date is September


12. (SBU) During June the CNP seized 28.3 metric tons of cocaine
HCl and coca base, 19.3 metric tons of marijuana, and 22 kilos of
heroin. The CNP also destroyed eleven cocaine HCl labs, 276 coca
base labs and captured 26 metric tons of precursor chemicals.

13. (SBU) From June 5 to 13 the Tulua airmobile company, operating
in Cauca and Narino, destroyed three cocaine HCl labs and 67 coca
base labs. During these operations more than four metric tons of
cocaine, nearly two metric tons of marijuana, 10.3 metric tons of
solid precursors, and 16,709 gallons of liquid precursors were
seized. From June 10 to 12 the Bogota jungla airmobile company,
operating in Vichada, found a FARC 43rd front weapons cache and
destroyed 48 coca base labs that contained 510 kilos of coca base,
7,000 gallons of liquid precursors and 3.9 metric tons of solid
precursors. On the 13th, the DIRAN heroin group seized 10.6 kilos
of heroin at a road checkpoint in Cali. On the 14th, DIRAN junglas
assisted DIJIN in the seizure of 9.5 tons of cocaine in Narino. On
the 15th, the Santa Marta jungla company captured 570 kilos of
cocaine at a road checkpoint in La Guajira. Between the 14th and
19th, the Bogota airmobile company destroyed 78 coca base labs in
Arauca. Junglas also seized another 496 kilos of cocaine at a road
checkpoint in La Guajira. Another jungla section located and
destroyed 4.2 hectares of poppy in Narino. Preparations are
underway for jungla deployment to Uraba as part of Operation

14. (SBU) On the 7th, forty students graduated from the eight-week
long range reconnaissance course. On the 13th, 87 students
graduated from the eighteen-week jungla international commando
course (including two Peruvians, two Hondurans, two Bolivians, two
Belizeans, two Chileans, one Panamanian, one Brazilian and one
Mexican). On the 20th, 38 graduated from the 23-week combat medic


15. (SBU) In June DIRAN's Ports and Airports Area (ARPAE) unit
seized 278.2 kilos of cocaine at the Port of Cartagena; 29 kilos of
cocaine, six kilos of heroin and seven kilos of marijuana at the
Port of San Andres; five kilos of cocaine and fourteen kilos of
marijuana at the Cali airport; six kilos of cocaine and six kilos of
marijuana at Medellin's Rionegro airport; and 45 kilos of cocaine,
four kilos of heroin, and twelve kilos of marijuana at the Bogota
Airport. NAS assisted NAS-Peru in initiating a thirteen-week canine
training program at the CNP canine academy in Facatativa. This
training is led by two U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
trainers and two Peruvian trainers. The students include eleven
Peruvians and five DIRAN police. In June, DIRAN authorized the
creation of a dedicated canine company.

16. (SBU) The DIRAN polygraph unit conducted polygraph exams on 43
members of DIRAN. This included support for several internal
affairs investigations of ARPAE personnel. Twenty seven passed the
exam, thirteen failed and three were inconclusive. U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) polygraphists conducted polygraph
exams on six DIRAN polygraphists. Three failed and their results
have been sent to the ICE polygraph institute for further review and
final evaluation.


17. (SBU) The GOC sorted 5,867 tracks in June of which two were
"unknown, assumed suspect" (UAS). Neither was deemed to be a phase
I, II, or III event. There were also four missions in support of
suppression of illegal maritime traffic (SSIMT). Three of these
ended in law enforcement engagements resulting in six arrests and
the seizure of four vessels, including one go-fast, along with their
cargo of 2.2 metric tons of cocaine.


18. (SBU) The CD Brigade's long-range surveillance detachment
(LRSD) along with its 1st, 2nd, and 3rd battalions continued
supporting aerial and manual eradication efforts and conducting
interdiction operations from bases in Tumaco, Narino,
Barrancabermeja, Santander and Cumaribo, Vichada. In June the
Brigade carried out counternarcotics operations against the FARC's
16th and 29th fronts and the Daniel Aldana mobile column. The
Brigade secured a total of 12,286 hectares during aerial eradication
operations. The Brigade destroyed two HCl labs, 33 coca base labs,
seven enemy caches and seized 2.7 metric tons of cocaine, 10 kilos
of coca paste, 1,810 gallons of liquid coca, 8,737 gallons of liquid
precursors, 3,054 kilos of solid precursors, 14,085 kilos of coca
leaf in-process, and 1,018,500 coca seedlings. The Brigade also
captured eight FARC terrorists and confiscated a number of weapons,
ammunition, explosives along with radios, one motor vehicle, and one

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19. (SBU) In June, CNP Carabinero (EMCAR) Units captured two drug
traffickers and 85 common criminals and seized more than 100
weapons, along with ammunition and explosives. EMCAR Units also
captured 188 kilos of cocaine and coca base and 1.5 kilos of
marijuana. EMCARs reported destroying 900,000 coca seedlings,
eradicated 120 hectares of coca, and captured 15.8 metric tons of
precursor chemicals.


20. (SBU) On the 16th, 26 students began the month-long base
defense course in Apartado, Antioquia. The course will address
upgrades, renovations, and emerging security requirements at the
antinarcotics base there. The next course will take place in
Tumaco, Narino in September.

21. (SBU) The site survey and IDIQ for improvements to the
perimeter defense system at the antinarcotics base in San Jose,
Guaviare were completed. The project, which entails refurbishing
the bunker facilities and replacing the non-repairable bastion
walls, will begin shortly.


22. (SBU) Operational highlights for June include the seizure of
1.9 metric tons of cocaine in a joint operation with Colombian Navy
(COLNAV), COLAR and COLAF units in the Gulf of Uraba. In an
operation on the coast of Cordoba, GRUIN seized 253 kilos of cocaine
and arrested six smugglers. In another operation, GRUIN passed
along intelligence about a go-fast operation to the Panamanian
authorities who captured a go-fast with 980 kilos of cocaine that
had evaded COLNAV vessels.


23. Preparations continued for "Operation Firewall", a biannual,
inter-agency counternarcotics operation along the North Coast. DEA
is serving as the lead agency, and other Embassy participants
include NAS and MILGP. Colombian participants include the CD
Brigade, COLNAV, the Coast Guard, COLAR and various elements of the
CNP, including ARAVI and the junglas.


24. (SBU) The demobilization program continues its labors to
increase desertion among narcoterrorist groups. There are multiple
publicity efforts in coordination with national institutions such as
the Colombian Federation of Coffee Growers to broaden the reach of
the program's message. Negotiations with the major national media
outlets are being held with the same purpose of reaching all regions
of the country and increase demobilization. Campaigns featuring
former FARC front leader Elda Nellys Mosquera Garcia, alias
"Karina," who turned herself in to GOC security forces in May, will
be used to facilitate further demobilizations. The program is
working with the "Aqui y Ahora" Foundation to determine the
feasibility of offering psychological services to demobilized


25. (SBU) DIRAN installed a single channel radio repeater which
will greatly improve communications in and around Cucuta. The Cali
WAN project was completed and DIRAN's airport police in Cali are now
able to access the CNP intranet.


26. (U) OAS-Trust for the Americas (OAS-TA) held a second
three-day, NAS-sponsored capacity building training for NGOs working
in the areas of drug prevention and treatment. Representatives from
eighteen NGOs from ten Colombian departments participated. On the
20th, OAS-TA held part two of a two-part conference for journalists
to discuss the media's role in drug prevention. Forty journalists
and academics participated.

27. (U) To commemorate June 26, the International Day Against Drug
Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, NAS co-sponsored a youth drug forum
with UNODC and DIRAN. The two-day event brought together
approximately 200 young leaders (ages 13-20) from all over Colombia
to discuss their respective organizations' prevention methodology
and showcase the activities that each organization promotes to
achieve a drug-free life. It culminated with a roundtable that
included Ambassador Brownfield and the directors of UNODC's Colombia
Office and the CNP.


© Scoop Media

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