An official website of the United States government

February 16, 2018

A New Kind of Challenge

The drug trade has become the silent partner of illegal armed parties in Colombia. Colombia is home to three Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) – the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), and the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). These FTOs initially “taxed” narcotraffickers in return for guarding their illegal crops, but have expanded control over other aspects of the narcotics industry and are engaged in cultivation, processing, and distribution in and outside Colombia. These narcoterrorists reap enormous profits, which are used to finance a large part of their operations, making them a threat to the security of the entire hemisphere.

Program Justification

Colombia supplies more illicit drugs to the United States than any other country in the world. It is the world’s leading coca producer and a major producer of opium poppy. It is the source of over 90 percent of the cocaine and nearly half of the heroin entering the United State. More than 20,000 Americans die each year from narcotics use and millions of lives are afflicted by the scourge of drug addiction.  Therefore, aggressive disruption of illicit drug trade is a top U.S. priority. NAS eradicates and interdicts this cocaine and heroin before it is shipped to the U.S. and international markets.


  • Eliminate the cultivation of coca leaf and opium poppy;
  • Strengthen Colombia’s capabilities to disrupt and dismantle major drug-trafficking organizations and prevent their resurgence;
  • Destroy the cocaine and heroin processing industries and stop the diversion of licit chemicals into illicit channels;
  • Strengthen government institutions, support democracy, and establish public security in conflict zones; and
  • Promote the rule of law, support judicial reforms, and increase access to justice.