HomeNewsBriefColombia Faces Growing Challenges in Micro-trafficking and Illegal Mining
BRIEF

Colombia Faces Growing Challenges in Micro-trafficking and Illegal Mining

COLOMBIA / 2 APR 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

As President Juan Manuel Santos declared a new offensive against Colombia's micro-trafficking, a new report reveals the depth of the country's illegal mining trade, highlighting two of Colombia's principal security challenges.

Following a visit to one of Bogota's main micro-trafficking zones, El Bronx, Santos announced the beginning of a new police operation to tackle drug dealing centers known as "ollas," reported El Tiempo.

The president said he had given orders to the minister of defense and the chief of police to close down 24 ollas in 20 cities within the next 60 days.

On the same day, Colombian weekly Semana published an in-depth report into the country's illegal mining sector. According to the latest police estimates available, there are illegal mining operations linked to criminal groups in 25 of Colombia's 32 departments.

In some regions, the criminal organizations run their own mining operations; in other areas, miners have to hand over between five and 20 percent of the gold they find.

Semana's report also highlights how the mining sector is used to launder drug trade profits by reporting non-existent gold exports. It notes that prosecutions for illegal mining are hampered by the lack of a legislative framework, as most cases are prosecuted for environmental infractions only.

InSight Crime Analysis

As Colombia's principal criminal groups look to expand their interests beyond transnational drug trafficking they have increasingly turned to the lucrative sectors of micro-trafficking and illegal mining.

In particular, the criminal mafias the Rastrojos and the Urabeños have demonstrated their desire to profit from every level of criminality in Colombia.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 18 MAR 2014

The massacre of five men from Colombia just across the border in Venezuela's Tachira state has drawn attention to the…

COLOMBIA / 2 FEB 2016

The DEA has revealed money laundering links between the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah and Colombian mafia group the Oficina de…

COLOMBIA / 3 SEP 2020

The coronavirus pandemic sparked a shift in Colombia as criminal actors the nation over sought to profit from the sudden…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua Becomes Truly Transnational

29 JUL 2022

This week, InSight Crime published a deep dive into the total control that Venezuelan mega-gang, Tren de Aragua, has over the lives of those it smuggles between Venezuela and Chile…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkish Traffickers Delivering Latin American Cocaine to Persian Gulf

15 JUL 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an investigation piecing together the emerging role of Turkish cocaine traffickers in supplying Russia and the Persian Gulf, which are among…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkey as a Lynchpin in European Cocaine Pipeline

8 JUL 2022

InSight Crime is extending its investigation into the cocaine pipeline to Europe, and tracking the growing connections between Latin American drug traffickers and European criminal organizations. This led us to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Memo Fantasma Coverage Gets Worldwide Attention

1 JUL 2022

Guillermo Acevedo, the former Colombian drug lord and paramilitary commander better known as Memo Fantasma, may soon be allowed to leave prison. Since first revealing the identity of Memo Fantasma…

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…