|03TEGUCIGALPA1792||2003-07-29 20:56:00||SECRET||Embassy Tegucigalpa|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T TEGUCIGALPA 001792
1. (C) SUMMARY: On July 28 Honduran authorities seized
approximately 525 kilos of cocaine from a Colombian go-fast
boat that was forced to beach near the remote northern
coastal region of Limon, Colon. The vessel was first
interdicted by the Honduran Navy at approximately 17:45, some
nine nautical miles off the Honduran coast. Preliminary
reports indicate that as the Colombian vessel attempted to
escape, crew members opened fire on the Honduran Navy.
Honduran Navy personnel returned fire, apparently mortally
wounding one Honduran crew member. The Honduran Navy pursued
the vessel to the shore where they were able to arrest two
other Colombian crew members while two other unidentified
individuals escaped. END SUMMARY
2. (S) On July 28 Honduran authorities seized approximately
525 kilos of cocaine from a Colombian go-fast boat that was
forced to beach near the remote northern coastal region of
Limon, Colon. The vessel originally departed Colombia's
Caribbean coast on July 27 and was tracked to Honduras by USG
assets. On July 28 JIATF-S provided TAT Honduras information
regarding the location of the vessel; TAT Honduras then
relayed the information to Honduran authorities.
3. (C) Government of Honduras (GOH) authorities then deployed
all of their navy assets from Puerto Castilla, Colon in an
effort to interdict the vessel. A Honduran Navy patrol boat
made contact with the vessel at approximately 17:45, some
nine nautical miles off the coast, at which point it
apparently instructed the intruding go-fast to surrender for
boarding. In an effort to escape, the vessel's crew then
reportedly opened fire on the Honduran patrol boat. Honduran
Navy personal returned fire and pursued the go-fast,
eventually forcing the vessel to beach.
4. (C) The go-fast reportedly had a crew of five. Of those:
one was mortally wounded in the fire-fight; two were brought
into custody; and two unidentified individuals escaped after
the vessel beached. Initial reports named the deceased as
Tito Montes, a Honduran national and possible brother or son
of well-known Honduran drug trafficker Carlos Montes who was
recently released from a Honduran jail. The two other
individuals taken into custody were Manuel Salvador Guzman
Miranda and Blas Guzman Miranda, both Colombian nationals.
5. (S) TAT Honduras reports that this particular load was
possibly owned by Rodrigo Cadena, a high-ranking AUC
Colombian paramilitary officer. Apparently when the vessel
departed Colombia it was believed to be carrying
approximately 1,600 kilos of cocaine. It is thought that the
missing kilos may have already been off-loaded (in a possible
drugs-for-arms deal) before the go-fast returned to sea for
6. (U) This latest seizure brings the total amount of cocaine
seized this year in Honduras to approximately 4,500 kilos.
This is more than double what has been seized in the last
three years combined.