Cablegate: For Release: Nas Monthly Report for November 2009

Published: Tue 29 Dec 2009 06:18 PM
DE RUEHBO #4108/01 3631818
R 291818Z DEC 09
E.O. 12958: N/A
From: Navarro, Luz A
Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 1:14 PM
To: Navarro, Luz A
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In the first days of December the aerial
eradication team reached its CY-2009 goal of 100,000 hectares
sprayed. Eradication numbers continue to lag behind last year's
due to funding constraints affecting manual eradication progress,
while fatalities during manual eradication operations have
increased from last year (see reftel). NAS-funded training and
construction programs continue, and interdiction operations
continue to result in large-scale seizures. END SUMMARY.
I. Aerial Eradication Program
II. Manual Eradication Program
III. Plan Colombia Helicopter Program (PCHP)
IV. Colombia National Police Air Service Support (ARAVI)
V. Interdiction Program
VI. Base Security/Road Interdiction/NVD Program
VII. Maritime Interdiction Program
VIII. Communications/Weapons Program
IX. Port Security Program (PSP)
X. Reestablish Police Presence Program (Carabineros)
XI. Air Bridge Denial (ABD) Program
XII. Environmental Program
XIII. Individual Demobilization Program
XIV. Drug Demand Prevention (DDP) Program
2. (SBU) Aircraft based in Forward Operating Locations (FOLs) in
Larandia, Popayan and Caucasia sprayed a total of 8,595 hectares
(ha) in November. A total of 3,310 ha were sprayed out of
Barrancabermeja, 827 out of Popayan, 484 out of Caucasia and 3,974
out of Tumaco. The aerial eradication team reached its calendar
year target of 100,000 ha on December 4. During November,
eradication aircraft experienced four hostile fire incidents and
nine impacts, bringing the total for the calendar year to 41
hostile fire incidents and 75 impacts. No one was wounded or
killed as a result of these incidents.
3. (SBU) Phase IV of the GOC's 2009 manual eradication campaign
(GME program) ends in mid-December. Total eradication of coca for
the month of November was 4,337 ha, bringing the GME program's
year-to-date total to 44,188 ha. Including eradication carried out
by the Colombian security forces, total coca eradication through
November was 51,046 ha. With less than one month left in the year,
manual eradication of coca is well short of the 2009 manual
eradication goal of 70,000 ha. The Antinarcotics Police (DIRAN)
planned to continue eradication operations through December in an
attempt to reach 60,000 ha by the end of the year. The GOC has
surpassed the 2009 goals to eradicate 500 hectares of poppy and 150
ha of marijuana. There were no reported security incidents in
4. (SBU) Through November, the GOC reported a total of 40
fatalities during manual eradication operations in 2009, including
25 security personnel, 14 civilian eradicators, and one United
Nations-hired topographer embedded within a manual eradication
group. [Note: The number of reported fatalities is based on
records held by the Colombian National Police, Colombian Army,
Accion Social, reports from the field and press reports. Complete
reporting of fatalities during manual eradication will not be
available until the end of the year. End Note.] In all of 2008,
26 security personnel and civilian eradicators were killed in
manual eradication operations.
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5. (SBU) PCHP aircraft flew a total of 497 hours in November 2009,
operating from bases in Tumaco, Larandia, Barrancabermeja, and
Tolemaida. PCHP aircraft provided air assaults, air movements,
reconnaissance, medical evacuations, and support missions for the
Counter-Drug (CD) Brigade and other vetted Colombian Army (COLAR)
units. [Comment: Air assaults and interdiction operations
coordinated with aerial eradication operations continues to be an
effective tactic for increasing security for spray aircraft. The
effectiveness of this tactic, however, is directly proportional to
the accuracy and availability of actionable intelligence. General
information on the presence of enemy forces in an area cannot be
converted into an actionable target by CD Brigade forces. Lack of
actionable intelligence was the major factor affecting operations
in the Barrancabermeja FOL.] PCHP aircraft supported SOUTHCOM's
visit to Tolemaida and the Joint Initial Entry Rotary Wing School
in Melgar. PCHP flew 31 hours supporting 9 medical evacuation
missions transporting a total of 13 patients.
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6. (SBU) ARAVI's NAS-supported fleet flew 2,178 mission hours in
November. The seven UH-60 Black Hawks closed out the month with
215 flight hours and an operational readiness (OR) rate of 81
percent. One UH-60 is undergoing depot maintenance for structural
repair due to hostile fire, and Sikorsky completed depot repairs on
another UH-60 this month. The Bell 212 fleet flew 362 mission
hours with an OR rate of 68 percent. One Bell 212 has yet to be
inducted into the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP)/Rewire, and
another Bell 212 is currently in depot for SLEP. The CNP is
conducting this SLEP without USG contractor support. The Huey II
section's OR rate was 65 percent while flying 1,021 hours. Five
Huey IIs are in depot maintenance for structural repairs. The
transfer of five Huey IIs from the Colombian Army to the CNP was
completed, and the CNP has assumed all helicopter support for both
aerial eradication packages operating in Colombia. The four DC-3s
flew 288 hours in November with an OR rate of 46 percent. The last
of three C-26 Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Aerial
Platforms (ISRAP) arrived and is pending final acceptance.
7. (SBU) During November the Colombian National Police (CNP) seized
8.51 metric tons of cocaine hydrochloride (HC1) and cocaine base,
33.75 metric tons of coca leaf, 24.37 metric tons of marijuana, and
7 kgs of heroin. The CNP also destroyed 13 cocaine HCl
laboratories and 102 coca base laboratories, and seized 2,113
metric tons of precursor chemicals. From January 1 to December 1,
2009, the CNP has seized 121.13 metric tons of cocaine/cocaine
base, 447 metric tons of coca leaf, 164.88 metric tons of marijuana
and 573 kgs of heroin. In the same time period the CNP has
destroyed 179 cocaine HCl laboratories, 1,419 coca base
laboratories, and seized 24,804.10 metric tons of precursor
8. (SBU) On November 2, DIRAN deployed 40 Junglas from Facatativa
to Caucasia, Antioquia Department to intercept a clandestine drug
flight arriving from Central America. The clandestine aircraft
landed near Ayapel, Cordoba, 15 miles north of Caucasia, and the
Jungla airmobile element landed minutes after and seized the
aircraft. The aircrew is believed to have escaped in a small boat
on Lake Ayapel. As the Junglas fanned out over the area, they
found an abandoned suitcase containing $2M USD. Since April 2009,
the policemen of northeast Colombia's DIRAN Zone #5 (Norte de
Santander, Santander, Arauca) have established continuous mobile
road checkpoints, seizing 27 tons of marijuana (coming from distant
Cauca) and 12 tons of cocaine. [NOTE: The narcotraffickers are
attempting to move the cocaine/marijuana to clandestine airfields
across the border with Venezuela.] On November 6, thirty Tulua
Junglas, responding to a HUMINT tip, moved by truck from Tulua to
Calota, Cauca and captured 850 kgs of marijuana hidden in a cache
site. On November 7, the DIRAN Zone #5 destroyed three HCl labs
and captured 432 kgs of cocaine in Norte de Santander. On November
13, thirty-one Tulua Junglas moved to Buenaventura and assisted
DIRAN Ports in the capture of 315 kgs of cocaine hidden in a coffee
shipment. On November 13-17, the Facatativa Junglas deployed to
Yopal, Casanare and San Jose de Guaviare and conducted a night
airmobile assault, capturing members of the Pedro Olivero Guerrero,
alias "Cuchillo", narcotrafficking group, located 30 miles north of
San Jose de Guaviare. The Junglas captured three armed members of
the band along with ammunition and hand grenades.
9. (SBU) The Facatativa Ammunition Bunker, funded by NAS and built
by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was completed on November 15.
The storage facility will service the Facatativa Junglas, the DIRAN
National Ammunition Section and the Carabineros School. NAS
Bogota's Engineering Section is supervising the construction of a
small arms range for the Junglas at the Facatativa Police Base.
The expected completion date is March 2010.
10. (SBU) The DIRAN Junglas nine-man Mobile Training Team (MTT)
completed their 60 day antinarcotics training program for Mexico's
Jalisco State Police in Guadalajara on November 2. The Jungla
Commando International Course, comprised of 54 international and 29
CNP students, will continue until December 11. Both the eight-week
Jungla Explosives and Demolitions Course for 48 students and the
eight-week Advanced Land Navigation Course for 56 students began on
October 26. The 23- week Jungla Combat Medic course continues and
should graduate 35 students on December 28. Six U.S. Army Special
Forces trainers initiated a four-week course at the Pijaos Training
Center on November 2 training the Jungla Special Recon unit on
rural and urban operations.
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11. (SBU) 28 students graduated from the Base Security course at
the newly-designated DIRAN Northwest Zone base in Necocli on
November 4. The next scheduled courses are in the planning phase
and will run simultaneously in Tumaco and Necocli beginning in
12. (SBU) Phase II of the Miraflores Indefinite Design Indefinite
Quantity (IDIQ) project continued on schedule with a completion
date of the first week in December. The IDIQ Bastion Wall project
at Necocli was completed. It includes 250 meters of perimeter
walls and two nine meter ballistic towers. An additional 315
meters of bastion walls to connect all the existing towers and
bunkers will be added in December.
13. (SBU) The accounting and inspection of the remaining Night
Vision Devices for Carabineros Mobile Squadron (EMCAR) units was
completed in November, and all of the new NVDs were sent to the
designated EMCAR units located throughout the country. The annual
accounting and inspection program continued throughout the country
at DIRAN bases and units in El Dorado, Guaymaral, Facatativa,
Espinal, Pijaos, Cespo, Mariquita, Larandia, Santa Marta, Tulua and
14. (SBU) On November 3, an American cutter and a Colombian frigate
(ARC Valle de Cauca) intercepted a vessel off the Pacific coast
containing 2.5 tons of cocaine. The Colombian authorities seized
the drugs and arrested the crewmembers. A GRUIN navy intelligence
tactical team captured a top BACRIM (emerging criminal band)
"Paisa" leader, alias "Micho", in Monter????a, C????rdoba on November
15. (SBU) NAS worked with the Colombian Coast Guard to coordinate a
conference that included senior Colombian naval leadership, Coast
Guard officers, Colombian judges, and prosecutors to discuss new
Colombian maritime law against self propelled semi submersibles
(SPSS) and other legal issues as they pertain to Colombian national
16. (SBU) NAS provided 270 SPOT personal satellite emergency
communications devices to the Colombian Coast Guard and CNP,
providing commanders the ability to determine exactly the location
of friendly forces. Work continued on a fiber optics project in
Tulua that will connect the antinarcotics base with the CNP
network, and NAS funded the travel of CNP technicians to every
international airport in Colombia to train DIRAN personnel on a new
database that will help track import/export information. NAS also
met with DIRAN and DIPON and a private communication security firm,
Cellcrypt, to discuss methods to encrypt CNP cell phones. CNP
communications officers are testing and evaluating potential
17. (SBU) DIRAN's Ports and Airports Area (ARPAE) units seized 2.2
metric tons of cocaine, 1.1 kgs of heroin and arrested 34 people at
Colombia's air and seaports during November. At the Bogota
airport, 483.4 kgs of cocaine were seized and 25 people arrested.
At the Pereira airport, 3.7 kgs of cocaine were seized. At Cali's
Palmira airport, 19.7 kgs of cocaine were seized and three people
arrested. At Medellin's Rionegro airport, 5.2 kgs of cocaine and 3
kgs of heroin were seized, and two people arrested. At
Barranquilla's airport, 0.8 kgs of heroin were seized and one
person arrested. In Cartagena's port, 838.8 kgs of cocaine were
seized and two people arrested. In Buenaventura's port, 879 kgs of
cocaine were seized and one person arrested. In Santa Marta's
port, 7.6 kgs of cocaine were seized and in Urab????'s port area,
kgs of cocaine were seized. Canine antidrug units participated in
seven of the cases.
18. (SBU) ICE polygraph examiner conducted polygraph exams on 68
members of DIRAN's interdiction, intelligence, ports and airports
units. 54 passed the exam, 10 failed, and 4 exams had inconclusive
results. The DIRAN Polygraph Unit also supported DIRAN Internal
Affairs Group with investigations on air and seaport personnel.
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19. (SBU) The Carabineros continue their primary missions of rural
security and manual eradication. During November they captured 159
people, 14 FARC/ELN, 20 criminal bands members, 22
narcotraffickers, 103 common criminals, 90 weapons and over 3,000
rounds of ammunition. The squadrons also seized 4,455 gallons of
liquid precursors, 5,078 kgs of solid precursors, 1,128 kgs of
cocaine, 6,713 kgs of marijuana, 14 vehicles and destroyed 24 labs
and two base camps.
20. (SBU) Out of 2,808 tracks over Colombia, three aircraft were
declared Unknown, Assumed Suspect (UAS). The Colombian Air Force
intercepted one and the other two were not located. The
intercepted aircraft, a Cessna 210, was intercepted departing
Honduras (see para 8).
21. (SBU) In November, the antinarcotics police received 25
complaints, closed 21 cases, and compensated approximately $693 USD
to one complainant bringing the total backlog to 2,210 cases.
22. (SBU) On November 24-25, Chris Kraul, a Los Angeles Times
journalist, traveled to Tumaco, Narino to view and discuss aerial
eradication operations. His article was published on December 16
and focused on one spray pilot, highlighting interesting spray
stories and experiences.
23. (SBU) The Ministry of Defense's (MOD) Humanitarian Attention
Program for the Demobilized (PAHD) has received 20,398 combatants
since 2002, including 148 insurgents in November and 2,481 to date
in 2009. This is the lowest monthly total since December 2007 and
increases the likelihood that the PAHD's total in 2009 will be
several hundred fewer cases than last year. While 1,993 FARC
members have demobilized so far this year compared to 2,847 through
November 30, 2008, ELN demobilization numbers have reached a record
470 this year.
24. (SBU) On November 25, Ambassador Brownfield awarded prizes to
thirty-two winners, one from each department, of CNP DARE's,
NAS-financed "Draw for a Drug-Free Country" contest that this year
involved more than 50,000 children from across the country. The
three NGOs that will be building anti-drug community coalitions in
Colombia submitted their proposals for grants which will be awarded
upon the receipt of FY-2009 funds. The winners of NAS-supported
national youth DDP contest "The Wind at Your Back" and youth
leaders from across the country participated in a
UNODC/MPS-organized DDP training session November 16-18.
25. (SBU) UNODC representatives received NAS's contribution to
support a national study of drug use in schools among youth aged 12
to 17. The study will complement the NAS/INL-supported National
Household Drug Consumption Study released in June of this year and
will provide a tool for drug demand prevention policy and program
planning for youth. The study, slated to begin next year, will
also identify trends when compared with the last such study
released in 2004.
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