Colombia: Narcos Get Assist From Police Officers In Drug Trafficking Ring

Published: 22 November 2023

Puerto de buenaventura

From Buenaventura port, police agents helped the drug trafficking network to smuggle cocaine out of the country. (Photo: Jimysantandef, Wikimedia, License)

By Lieth Carrillo

A Colombian drug ring that smuggled cocaine hidden in containers of legal merchandise found a helping hand at the country's main Pacific Ocean port. Police officers of the Buenaventura port assisted the network in successfully smuggling the drugs to Central America and Europe, the Attorney General's Office said on Sunday.

Police officers at the port allegedly allowed the criminal organization to hide the drugs in cargo holds and containers leaving the country, interspersed with canned pineapple, organic fertilizer, and ground plastic, among other products.

The network allegedly received inside information on the arrival and departure schedules of ships carrying merchandise. Thanks to such information, the ring reportedly planned the logistics of entry and hiding the cocaine.

Three alleged leaders of the drug trafficking network, Justino Coral Perea, a.k.a. Tio; Jim Brayan Coral Pretel, a.k.a. Brayan; and Ronal Montaño Mariñez were arrested in connection with the seizure. They were charged with aggravated drug trafficking, manufacture or carrying of narcotics, and conspiracy to commit a crime and were remanded in custody while awaiting trial. More than US$80,000 and 875 kilograms of cocaine were confiscated.

Also, 16 properties allegedly owned by the suspected network leaders were seized. The properties are valued at US$645,000.

"These are two commercial establishments, five shell companies, five urban properties, and four vehicles, which were seized in proceedings carried out jointly with the National Police in Cali, Jamundí, Buenaventura (Valle del Cauca), and Apartadó (Antioquia)," said the Attorney General's Office.

The operation, which involved the Attorney General's Office and the Colombian National Police, is based on the "Argenta" strategy, designed to attack the finances of organized crime and drug trafficking networks active in the country.

Neither the Attorney General nor the police released any information about the police officers who allegedly assisted the smugglers. This week the country is in the midst of a controversy after two police officers reported that the director of the police investigation body in Buenaventura is allegedly involved in drug trafficking.