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Monday, February 12, 2007

'Most cocaine enters US via Farc'

Most of the cocaine that enters the United States has passed through the hands of Colombia's Farc rebels, a senior US official has told a magazine.

The Drugs Enforcement Agency's Michael Braun described the Farc as "half terrorists, half traffickers - the face of global crime in the 21st Century".

The left-wing guerrilla army is thought to be one of the world's most powerful.

Colombia's right-wing paramilitaries - players in the country's civil conflict - are also involved in the drug trade.

Under what is known as Plan Colombia, the US has given $3bn in mainly military aid to Colombia to fight the drugs trade.


In the interview with the weekly Colombian publication Semana, the DEA's chief of operations said nine out of every 10 grams of cocaine sent to the US had passed through the Farc at some point.

The rebel group, Mr Braun added, were making between $500m (£257m) and $1bn a year from trafficking.

However, he said, he believed the war against the Farc was being won.

Asked about the role of the paramilitary umbrella group AUC - whose members have been demobilising - in the international drugs trade, Mr Braun said he did not want to underestimate it.

But the Farc, he said, was the paradigm of the organised crime of the future because of the way it had transformed itself.

Colombia is the source of more than 70% of the world's cocaine supply, according to DEA figures.
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