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Army sends counternarcotics advisory team to Colombia

Army sends counternarcotics advisory team to Colombia
A low-profile go-fast vessel is shown next to the Coast Guard Cutter James in mid-May in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard 

May 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army's 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade will deploy an advisory team to Colombia June 1 to support counternarcotics cooperation with Colombian security forces, U.S. Southern Command announced Thursday.

The brigade will provide military support to U.S.-Colombia efforts by "training, advising and assisting host units with strengthening capabilities crucial to U.S.-Colombia enhanced counternarcotics cooperation," according to SOUTHCOM.

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After isolating for 14 days, in compliance with Colombia's COVID-19 mitigation protocols, the SFAB will work with host units in areas designated by the Colombian government as "priority areas." The team will focus on logistics, services and intelligence capability directly supporting U.S.-Colombia counternarcotics collaboration and information sharing.

The deployment is meant to support the enhanced counternarcotics operation announced by President Donald Trump in April.

"The U.S. and Colombia have a longstanding history of supporting cooperative solutions and collaborative responses to security challenges and threats of concern in the Western Hemisphere," SOUTHCOM said in Thursday's announcement.

In April, Trump said the United States intended to deploy Navy ships near Venezuela as part of enhanced counternarcotics operations in the Western hemisphere.

This month, U.S. forces have also interdicted two ships suspected to be drug vessels and seized 3,100 pounds of cocaine -- with an estimated value of $53.5 million -- in international waters near central America.

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