HomeNewsBriefDrones Pose New Threat on Colombia’s Pacific Coast
BRIEF

Drones Pose New Threat on Colombia’s Pacific Coast

COLOMBIA / 25 SEP 2019 BY MARIA ALEJANDRA NAVARRETE EN

The discovery of two drones in the department of Nariño has raised fears about what impact such technology could have on the current conflict in the southwest of Colombia. 

On September 19, the Colombian Army announced that an operation had seized two Syma drones, loaded with 600 grams of explosives, on the road connecting the municipalities of Pasto and Tumaco, in the department of Nariño.

According to investigators in charge of the operation, from the Special Brigade Against Drug Trafficking (Brigada Especial contra el Narcotráfico - BRACNA), two detonators and various types of shrapnel were found alongside the explosives. 

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profile

According to authorities, the drones and detonators came from Ecuador and Peru.

In an official press release, the army declared that the drones allegedly belonged to the Oliver Sinisterra Front (Frente Oliver Sinisterra - FOS), dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC). The FOS, currently led by alias “Comandante Gringo,” was allegedly planning to carry out attacks against the military and civilian population in Tumaco.  

Signal inhibitors were used to carry out the operation, conducted in coordination with the police, so as to avoid the devices being activated remotely during the controlled destruction of the explosives.  

InSight Crime Analysis 

While there have been reports of drones allegedly being used by criminal groups in Colombia for surveillance purposes, this is the first time drones have been registered as a weapon and their impact on the armed conflict in Nariño is unclear. 

The financial and technological investment involved is not difficult, as these devices can easily be obtained on the open market. But the potential use of drones to transport explosives in a remote part of Colombia could reflect ex-FARC Mafia groups trying out new combat strategies. 

The FOS, previously led by Walter Patricio Arizala, alias “Guacho,” has been known for its use of unconventional weapons, such as anti-personnel mines, fuel bombs triggered by passing army troops, and hidden stashes of explosives that detonated when army helicopters landed nearby, as Semana reported.

SEE ALSO: New Book Highlights Flaws in Ecuador-Colombia Border Security Strategy

However, the advantages drones could provide, or other plans that the group may have for employing the use of this technology, are yet not clear. According to information divulged by authorities, the explosives were stuck to the drones to completely destroy the vehicle at the moment of detonation.  

Although authorities believe they were to be deployed against public security forces, it is worth noting the FOS has been weakened of late, due to disputes with the United Guerrillas of the Pacific (Guerrillas Unidas del Pacífico - GUP) and a criminal group led by alias “Contador” as they vie for control of one of Colombia’s largest coca cultivation enclaves. 

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

COCAINE / 12 OCT 2020

A new major report about drug trafficking and consumption in Europe has provided key insights into how a record production…

COLOMBIA / 10 JUL 2015

Colombia's prison authorities have moved to "retake" a section of the country's most notorious prison, after reports emerged of the…

ARGENTINA / 8 JUN 2018

In our June 7 Facebook Live session, Investigator Sergio Saffon and Managing Editor Josefina Salomón analyzed the criminal legacy of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…