HomeNewsBriefFARC Producing Synthetic Drugs: Colombian Military
BRIEF

FARC Producing Synthetic Drugs: Colombian Military

COLOMBIA / 3 JUN 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

The Colombian military reportedly discovered a synthetic drug laboratory belonging to guerrilla group the FARC, which, if true, would indicate that the rebels are diversifying their illicit activities and moving into Latin America's expanding synthetic drug market. 

Colombian troops recently found a laboratory that processed synthetic drugs and cocaine in the southwest department of Putumayo, reported El Tiempo. According to military officials, the drug lab was operated by 30 members of the 48th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). 

At the site, authorities discovered 1.5 tons of precursor chemicals, as well as evidence that the lab may have been used to produce up to three tons of cocaine every month, reported El Espectador. Authorities said the laboratory generated close to $11.7 million in drug profits per month for the rebel army. General Vaca Torres of the 27th Jungle Brigade noted about one-third of that illicit income came from the manufacturing of synthetic drugs such as ecstasy, reported El Colombiano

Authorities also said the production of synthetic drugs indicates that the FARC are exploring new consumer markets, according to El Colombiano. 

InSight Crime Analysis

If the FARC's 48th Front has become involved in the synthetic drug trade, it is likely an attempt to profit off increasing demand for synthetic drugs throughout much of the region, as authorities suggested. InSight Crime field research has found the FARC's 48th Front is already deeply involved in the drug trade in Putumayo, and could have direct links to Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel. This FARC unit is known to smuggle large quantities of coca and cocaine into Ecuador, where the Sinaloa Cartel has operatives in the northeast border province of Sucumbios.

SEE ALSO: FARC News and Profile

The FARC would certainly not be the first Colombian criminal group to take on a greater role in the synthetic drug trade. In October 2014, police attributed a massacre in the southwest city of Cali to a battle over synthetic drug trafficking routes. Last April, authorities dismantled what appears to be among the first Colombian groups dedicated to the transnational synthetic drug trade.

The participation of a seemingly growing number of illegal armed groups in the synthetic drug trade may yet validate concerns that synthetic drugs may soon represent a security risk on par with traditional drugs such as cocaine. In March 2013, Colombia's then-National Police Director, Jose Roberto Leon Riaño, said that synthetic drugs were "replacing cocaine." In November that same year, General Ricardo Restrepo, Director of Colombia's anti-drug police, told Reuters that combating the synthetic drug trade "will be our next battle."

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

ELITES AND CRIME / 13 OCT 2021

The photos showed five dead bodies laid out in the dirt, each with a gun or grenade close to an…

AUC / 28 OCT 2021

Accused paramilitary drug lord Guillermo León Acevedo, alias "Memo Fantasma," will remain in a high-security Colombian prison, where he has…

COCAINE EUROPE / 17 JUN 2021

A criminal group in Colombia is turning dirty money into adulterated gold, in the latest addition to a long list…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…