Colombia: narco gang exploits indigenous people

From Shared Responsibilites, a Colombia-led international initiative to find solutions to the global problem of narcotics trafficking, Sept. 25:

A recently dismantled cocaine and heroine trafficking ring tricked indigenous people into transporting drugs within Colombia.

Colombian Antinarcotics Police, in a joint operation with the DEA and the Colombian Attorney General’s Office, captured 14 members of a drug mob that trafficked cocaine and heroine from Colombia to Ecuador and then to the United States.

The investigation was named “Operation Musi” because the 14 captured individuals swindled members of the Guambiano tribe living in the southwestern Colombian states of Valle and Cauca into transporting drugs from the mountains, where the drugs were cultivated, to cities from where the drugs could start their route to the United States. In the native Guambiano language “musi” denotes “poppy”, the flower from which heroine is derived and which is pictured here.

Anti-narcotics officials suspect that the fact that the Guambianos generally communicate in their native language and that they are not generally kept under close observation by drug enforcement agens are the major reasons why they were targeted by the drug trafficking ring.

The investigation also revealed that the drug mob targeted women who would transport drug consignments hidden in their genitals, shoes and various other packages. A total of 8.9 kilos of heroine and 7.3 kilos of cocaine were seized throughout the investigation, and, of the 14 people now under custody, two of them are wanted for extradition.

See our last posts on Colombia, the state of its indigenous peoples, and the struggle in Cauca.