Colombia destroys cocaine labs in jungle region

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(BBC) Security forces in Colombia have carried out a huge operation to destroy 104 cocaine production laboratories in the south-eastern jungle.

Officials say the raids are part of a new strategy to target producers and traffickers rather than poor farmers who grow the coca plant.

The raids took place where Farc rebels have been operating. Their leaders have denied involvement in the drug trade.

Police said the labs could produce around 100 tons of cocaine a year.

“This is a structural blow to the finances of drug-trafficking,” anti-drug police director General Jose Angel Mendoza told Reuters news agency.

The groups running the cocaine trade in Colombia tax coca growers, run production laboratories and smuggle the drug out of the country in partnership with Mexican cartels.

Anti-narcotics police officer stands guard next to an illegal cocaine lab in Calamar, Guaviare state, Colombia, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016

Police commandoes took part in the raids (AFP)

An anti-narcotics helicopter flies over a coca field in Calamar, Guaviare state, Colombia, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016.

The helicopters flew over coca fields in Guaviare state (AP)

Colombian anti-narcotics policemen take position as they wait to board a helicopter in a rural area of Calamar in Guaviare state, Colombia, August 2, 2016. REUTERS

Colombian anti-drug police take position as they wait to board a helicopter in Guaviare state (Reuters photo)

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