CARTAGENA, Colombia – Colombia’s navy and Attorney General’s Office dismantled a transnational drug gang that smuggled narcotics to Europe and Central America, those two institutions said on Friday.
In a simultaneous operation in the cities of Ansermanuevo (Valle del Cauca province), Barranquilla, Medellin, Cartagena and Santa Marta, the authorities arrested 10 suspects, including a Dutch citizen identified as Robert Vresweck.
Authorities also seized 167.8 million pesos (nearly $58,000) in cash, as well as cellphones and information pertinent to the investigation.
Navy Vice Adm. Evelio Ramirez said at a press conference that the gang had been paying a “tax” to the Clan del Golfo (a neo-paramilitary group formerly known as Los Urabeños) that enabled them to operate in the Gulf of Uraba region, near Colombia’s border with Panama.
The disbanded gang used speedboats and sailboats, as well as “parasite containers” attached to the outer hulls of ships, to smuggle cocaine out of Colombia.
For its part, the federal AG’s office said the organization coordinated cocaine shipments from the Caribbean cities of Cartagena, Barranquilla and Santa Marta.
The cocaine was shipped out of the country via the Port of Turbo in the Uraba region.
The suspects are accused of criminal conspiracy and drug trafficking, manufacture and possession.