THE NARCOTICS MONITOR

Created: 8/1/1996

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DCI Crime and Narcotics Center

The Narcotics Monitor

Table of

Eradication is Slowgoing

Inbriefs

16

Eradication is Slowgoing

coca eradication6 lags far behind" last year's efforts. For the first six months of the year, the Colombian National Police (CNP) claim to have sprayed onlyto claims last yearectares for the same time period.

dearth of spray operations in the Guar tare growing region, while pilots were being trained in new straight line spray tattles, is largely responsible for the drugs.

weather and the new the effectiveness of

CNP reports greatit

herbicide application to only aboutercent, which, if true, would result In the effective eradication of onlyectares.

the new tactics.

MW tactics have tailed to

thef ground-fiied alFa aircraft to fly longer distances, resulting in fewer hectares sprayed and higher fuel consumption; and limited operations against smaller and more dispersed fields. [

ectares uy uum mounting Jecuniy concerns caused eradication

More recently, however, in an attempt to wipe out coca cultivation and cocaine processing in the Guaviare, DANTI personnel and the Colombian Army's second mobile brigade launched in late June their first joint operation, dubbed "Operation Conquest L* into Miraflcres and the surrounding area, the heart of Colombia's coca cultivationuerrilla stronghold. The army was able to successfully secure Ihe Miraflores airstrip, thus providing sprayeeded refueling base and holding some promise for increasing coca eradication, of coca were sprayed by mid-operations in the area to cease

According tothousand coca

growers in the Guaviare nave sragea protests against the government's crop eradication effort and its designation of the

7*

I6

departmentpublic orderhich severely limits ihe sale and shipment of items critical to the production of cocaine. Recent clashes between government personnel and protesters near San Jose forced Che CNP to remove me spray aircraftore secure location. This move lakes5 spray aircraft out of effective operating range, thus essentially halting aerial coca eradication throughout the Guaviare.

In earlyollow-on operation,as launched into the PutumayorJcpartrnems. However, security distractions in thepeasantprobably limit Us success. Also, the limited numberaircraft to support follow-on operations in the Putumayo and Caquetaforced the redeployment of spray planes from die primary opium poppy base atDepartment, thereby virtually shutting down opium poppy eradication, accordingreporting.

The launching of these operations into areas that have rarely, if ever, seen eradication spray aircraft isorale booster for the Colombian police and army troops andirst step toward more joint operations. Long-term operational sustainabUtiy, however, will be difficult because of security concerns and limited resources, and coca eradication will almost certainly continue to be slow.

Asia

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