248.9 hectares were recovered as part of the sixth phase of the Artemisa campaign, carried out by the Military Forces, the National Police, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Attorney General Office, natural National Parks and Ideam in the area of the La Macarena.
The Minister of Defense, Holmes Trujillo, said that during this phase of the Artemisa campaign, and after several months of intelligence work and research, eight people were captured, seven of them in flagrante delicto, which are being accused for their alleged responsibility in the crimes of invasion of areas of special ecological importance, damage to natural resources and the manufacture, traffic, or bearing of firearms.
During the operation, items such as carbines, firearms, chainsaws and scythes were seized.
The Minister highlighted that during the six phases of the Artemisa campaign, which began in April 2019, it has achieved the recovery of 6,156 protected hectares in the departments of Meta, Guaviare, Caquetá and Putumayo. In addition, 56 people have been arrested for environmental crimes, 30 buildings have been disabled in environmental protection zones and elements used for deforestation have been found.
”In these places, criminals have tried to wipe out areas of our national parks by deforesting, causing fires and building access roads illegally, often with the aim of coca growing", said Minister Trujillo from the village Nueva Colombia, one of the points where the operation took place. He pointed out that deforestation in environmental protection areas in this region is aimed at illegal extensive cattle-raising activities, which finance structures of the residual Organized Armed Group, GAO-r, such as the 1st, the 7th and the 40th, under the command of alias Gentil Duarte.
He added that "invading lands in National Natural Parks, starting forest fires, deforesting them, building roads and structures in these places, is a crime and an attack against all Colombians. Every hectare destroyed, for whatever, is life that is becoming extinct. Every hectare less is reducing our biodiversity, our fauna and flora.
For her part, the Deputy Minister of Environment, Maria Claudia Garcia, highlighted the environmental importance of this region of the country, in which the Serranía de La Macarena Park, Tinigua Park and Picachos Parks are located.
The Artemisa campaign is carried out in compliance with the defense and security policy of President Ivan Duque who, for the first time, declared water, biodiversity and the environment as resources of national and prevalent interest, recognizing them as strategic assets of the nation.
Combating drug trafficking
During the presentation of the results of the Sixth Phase of the Artemisa campaign, Minister Trujillo praised the work of the Military Forces and the National Police in the fight against criminal rents such as drug trafficking and the illegal extraction of minerals.
He said that between January 1 and August 27 of this year, 300 tons of cocaine hydrochloride were seized, 5 percent more than in the same period in 2019. “300 tons of cocaine, which means 300,000 kilos of that drug, which requires the use of 832 kilos of coca leaf and the dumping of 700 liters of chemicals in rivers and forests to produce just one kilo. To produce one and a half kilograms of cocaine a harvest of one hectare is necessary. That's one less hectare of forest, just for a kilo and a half," said the Minister of Defense.
Finally, he said that "drug trafficking and the illegal extraction of minerals are a heavy threat to our environment and that is why the Military Forces, with dedication and sacrifice, fight every day to counteract these crime”.
Source: sectorial Communication-Ministry of National Defense