In 1965, under Major General Saulo Gil Ramírez Sendoya, the National Police imported two Cessna 206 and one 441 aircraft, with which the air operations of the PNC started.
In 1973, under Major General Henry García Bohórquez, through Resolution No. 100 of 1973, the Air Transport Section, part of the Administrative Branch was born. Later, on 6 March 1979, through Resolution No. 001 it become known as “Grupo de Transporte Aéreo de la Policía Nacional” (“Air Transport Group of the National Police”).
In 1981, in view of the serious threat of drug trafficking, the Policía Nacional de Colombia started the Servicio Especializado de Antinarcóticos (a service specialised in anti-narcotics).
Today the Colombian Police operates the largest police air fleet in South America. The police’s aviation force, Aérea de Aviación (ARAVI), headquartered at Bogotá ‘s El Dorado, operates under the command of the Direcciòn Anti-Narcòticos (DIRAN) (Counter-narcotics Directorate). In addition to counter-narcotics missions, the police use U.S. government-supported assets for humanitarian missions, targeted intelligence gathering, anti-terrorism, anti-kidnapping, high value target, and public order missions.
The fleet has been acquired both through direct procurement and also seizure of assets used by drug carriers.
Apart from the Colombian owned aircraft, the US Department of State runs the Aerial Eradication Program (EAP) under the Plan Colombia. Coca and poppy fields are sprayed by Air Tractor AT-802s supported by Cessna 208s. Colombian operated helicopters provide necessary Search and Rescue and gunship support during eradication missions which obviously can be quite dangerous. These missions have been highly successful and have resulted in a massive reduction in crops and have forced the drug producers to move operations into neighbouring countries.