Latin America / Police Cooperation

Operation Lucar II seizes goods and property resulting from illegal gold mining in Colombia

02 December 2020
Extracción de oro

36 items of goods and property worth 25 billion Colombian pesos (about $7 million) have been seized and confiscated in Operation Lucar II in the departments of Antioquia and Magdalena. The investigation was carried out by the Directorate of Carabineros and Rural Security of the National Police of Colombia, through the National Unit Against Illegal Mining and Antiterrorism in coordination with the specialised Directorate of Extinction of Domain Rights of the National Attorney General’s Office.

The 36 items held correspond to 27 plots that include half of an islet valued at 2,003 million pesos (564,000 dollars) in the Guatapé reservoir, four business premises, three vehicles with a seizure request and two retail companies in the municipalities of Barbosa, Bello, Cisneros, Guatapé, El Peñol and San Rafael in the department of Antioquia and Ciénaga in Magdalena.

Likewise, land located in the rural area of San Rafael (Antioquia) has been identified, where the San Julián mine was worked and from which large amounts of gold was taken by tunnelling. This property was surrounded by 11 pieces of land that gave it independence and allowed it to conceal its criminal activity.

The authorities were able to cross-check the information obtained and uncover the criminal structure for the illegal mining and sale of gold obtained from 14 mines in different municipalities of Antioquia, which was later amalgamated and sold as coming from a single mine, which did not have mining authorisation.

In addition, the Attorney General’s Office explained that the evidence gathered indicates that, to launder the proceeds of this operation, the crime ring bought properties and built and leased out shopping centres.

The operation has stemmed a source of income of the Organised Common Criminal Group ‘Clan Lucar’ dismantled on 3 December 2019, which committed crimes related to  illegal mining in the departments of Antioquia, Magdalena, Cauca on the Guachicono river affected by the dumping of chemicals.

During the investigation, it was possible to show the existence of a well-organised criminal network that mined and transported the gold to the municipality of Remedios Antioquia where it was later sold. As well as the serious and irreparable environmental damage caused to natural heritage.