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Tetra's (TTI) Calcium Chloride Is Fueling a Cocaine War in South … – Bloomberg

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Ecuadorian police stand guard over a truck involved in the seizure of Tetra calcium chloride destined for cocaine labs in Colombia.
Photo illustration: 731; Source: National Police of Ecuador
Tetra Technologies wanted to boost sales of calcium chloride, a compound with lots of commercial applications. Now Colombian drug lords are asking for it by name.

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While listening to wiretaps in January 2018, police intelligence officers in Ecuador heard the lieutenants of a Colombian drug lord planning an imminent cross-border attack. The eavesdroppers alerted the most likely target: a national police garrison in the town of San Lorenzo, just across the Mataje River from Colombia’s top cocaine-producing region. The commander at the outpost added patrols and gave his officers assault rifles, expecting skirmishes in the town. He also put more guards at the gates of the compound, which spans a city block.
A few days later, at about 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 27, a Mazda pickup packed with explosives detonated at the garrison’s unprotected rear. The blast produced a hailstorm of shrapnel over a 1,000-foot radius. Parked cars flew through the air. Dozens of homes and shops were destroyed. Fires lit up the darkness. More than two dozen people were wounded, and hundreds were left homeless. Authorities immediately blamed a former rebel leader in Colombia’s civil war, Walther Patricio Arizala Vernaza. Arizala, known as Guacho, was now a powerful drug lord, and his former troops were now his drug soldiers. Over the next several months they attacked security forces on both sides of the border with mortars, automatic weapons, and roadside bombs, including one blast that killed four Ecuadorian marines.


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