Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon on Tuesday evening announced the killing of a rebel leader connected with Mexican drug cartels, describing it as an "important blow."
Santos said a joint military and police force operation resulted in the death of Olidem Solarte, also known as 'Oliver Solarte,' who was an important leader for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, which is commonly known as the FARC.
Solarte, 39, was the leader of the FARC's 48th front militias and was the main contact between Mexican drug cartels and Colombia's North Valley cartels. His drug trafficking activities helped finance FARC operations, the president said. Admiral Edgar Cely added that he mainly trafficked cocaine, weapons, and explosives.
A six-month investigation led to the operation, which was conducted near the Putumayo River in the municipality of San Miguel where Solarte was living in a small hut near the Ecuadorian border. The operation ended on Monday at around 11:30 a.m., although it had started a few days prior.
"[Solarte] was wanted for a long time," Santos stated. "I remember that we wanted to capture him on various occasions when I was in the Defense Ministry, but it was never possible."
"Our Armed Forces have made a very important blow, and I want to congratulate our Defense Minister [Rodrigo Rivera] and our commanders and Police Chief [Oscar Naranjo]," Santos added.
Santos underlined the importance of teamwork as the joint operation was coordinated and conducted by Police Intelligence, the Navy, and Army.
The Colombian President went on to address the FARC. "You will fall one by one," he said, "because we will not put our guard down and we have many more targets."