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Further developments / The guard has not been lowered in the fight against drug trafficking, stated President Santos

​The Head of State said that the Government is moving forward in the development of an illicit crop substitution policy, as well as in the mandatory and manual eradication thereof.

Bogotá, July 3, 2015 (SIG).

The President of the Republic, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, assured this Friday that the authorities have not lowered their guard in the fight against drug trafficking, or reduced its intensity.

“The priority of our policy is to hit the drug traffickers, the drug trafficking chain, where it hurts them the most. And in that sense, the policy has been very effective. We have not lowered our guard on any front”, the Head of State said.

In a statement following the Security Council held at the Casa de Nariño, the President explained that this is the result of the experience acquired in the fight against drug trafficking.

“What does experience tell us? That in the drug trafficking chain, the highest the link is, the closest it is to the consumption, the action is most effective”, he pointed out.

Likewise, President Juan Manuel Santos refuted versions that state that drug trafficking has strengthened and ensured that, on the contrary, the organizations engaged in this illicit business have financially weakened.

“The groups that profit from drug trafficking are in a much weaker financial situation today than the one they were recently in; the Farc, the ELN, the criminal gangs, the ‘Úsuga Clan’, all of them. We have accurate information indicating that they are currently facing financial problems”, he said.

In reference to a recently released report that states that coca crops in the country have increased, President Santos attributed said increase to technical mistakes that are now part of the past.

“Regarding the subject of the coca crop increase, which has effectively happened, we analyzed it. We already knew that it had happened, due to a series of technical mistakes and decisions made at the time with the US authorities (…) those situations have been overcome”.

In that regard, President Santos pointed out: “We will continue forcefully attacking all the links in the drug trafficking chain. That is a very clear order and policy”.

Crop substitution and results

Regarding the fight against drugs, the Head of State said that the National Government has been moving forward in the development of an illicit crop substitution policy, as well as in the mandatory and manual eradication of those illicit crops.

“These are two policies that have been under discussion with different entities, even with the United States; they are interested in ensuring that these policies are effective in order to have a complete, comprehensive plan that may provide us with the instruments to continue reducing coca crops as well”, he stated.

Likewise, President Santos reported an increase in cocaine seizures to date this year, as compared to the same period in 2014.

“This year, for example, as compared to the same period last year, more cocaine has been seized. Nearly 50 percent more; 150 tons have been seized”, concluded the Head of State.

Extradition

Up to date this years, 98 drug trafficking related arrests with extradition purposes have been made, equivalent to 26 percent more arrests than last year.

Likewise, 25,683 hectares of coca crops have been eradicated via spraying, a 20 percent increase in spraying figures.