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

COLOMBIA / 28 DEC 2022

Colombian President Gustavo Petro's Total Peace plan faces a very tough road ahead. Can over 20 criminal groups really all…

COLOMBIA / 7 AUG 2023

The Colombian president’s son admitted to accepting money from criminals, embroiling his father's administration in scandal.

COCAINE / 15 SEP 2023

Venezuela produces industrial quantities of urea, tons of which are stolen and smuggled into Colombia to feed cocaine labs.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Contributes Expertise Across the Board 

22 SEP 2023

This week InSight Crime investigators Sara García and María Fernanda Ramírez led a discussion of the challenges posed by Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s “Total Peace” plan within urban contexts. The…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Cited in New Colombia Drug Policy Plan

15 SEP 2023

InSight Crime’s work on emerging coca cultivation in Honduras, Guatemala, and Venezuela was cited in the Colombian government’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Discusses Honduran Women's Prison Investigation

8 SEP 2023

Investigators Victoria Dittmar and María Fernanda Ramírez discussed InSight Crime’s recent investigation of a massacre in Honduras’ only women’s prison in a Twitter Spaces event on…

THE ORGANIZATION

Human Trafficking Investigation Published in Leading Mexican Newspaper

1 SEP 2023

Leading Mexican media outlet El Universal featured our most recent investigation, “The Geography of Human Trafficking on the US-Mexico Border,” on the front page of its August 30…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime's Coverage of Ecuador Leads International Debate

25 AUG 2023

This week, Jeremy McDermott, co-director of InSight Crime, was interviewed by La Sexta, a Spanish television channel, about the situation of extreme violence and insecurity in Ecuador…