(Photo: Policia Nacional)

Colombia’s National Police announced Wednesday the end of a lengthy and successful operation resulting in the capture of 15 drug traffickers, of which eight are expected to be extradited to the United States. The Prosecutor General’s Office and US Drug Enforcement Agency also collaborated on the operation, which lasted roughly three years and spanned much of the country, according to a statement released by the National Police.

The target was a drug ring allegedly led by alias “Pana” and “Giraldo.” According to Police, the organization transported narcotics, mostly opium, primarily from the southwestern states of Nariño and Cauca.

Shipments then traveled by land to the western city of Cali, or Bogota, the capital, in the center of the country, to be shipped out from Cartagena, along the northern Caribbean coast. From Cartagena, the drugs would leave the country either in cargo planes or tourist cruises to Key West, Miami, and Orlando, where they were eventually distributed across the United States.

The extradition order came from the Orlando district court for drug trafficking. The other seven criminals captured will face charges of drug trafficking, conspiracy, and bribery back in Colombia.

MORE: Chief of Colombia National Police asks US to strengthen extradition policy

The operation also resulted in the confiscation of $29,000, 32 kilos of heroin, and 188 kilos of cocaine.

Extradition, though controversial in Colombia, continues to be the Colombian justice system’s preferred means of processing high-level drug traffickers.

Extradition policy has drawn criticism for weakening the authority of Colombian courts, shielding political corruption, and creating a new form of impunity for drug dealers also responsible for human rights violations.


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