BOGOTA, Colombia — On the eve of a U.S.-Latin American drug summit, the powerful Medellin cocaine cartel surrendered its three largest cocaine-processing laboratories to authorities.
The White House denounced the kidnaping this week of two Americans by suspected leftist guerrillas. The captors said they wanted to protest President Bush's visit for the drug summit Thursday.
There were reports that one of the Americans had been released, but the White House said today that it believes both are still being held.
A group of 23 Colombian journalists and nine crewmen was taken Tuesday to a swamp-plagued area in the Darien Gulf, near the border with Panama, where the laboratories are located, Colombian radio networks Caracol and RCN reported.
The mosquito-infested area is considered among the most inhospitable in the world.
Reporters said the labs were "surprisingly modern, with facilities and supplies enough to support 150 men during long periods."
"It was an industrial citadel to produce cocaine," a Caracol reporter said.
The three labs, between the states of Uraba and Choco about 300 miles north of Bogota, had been operating since 1984 and abandoned shortly before the journalists arrived, reporters said.
The surrender of the labs, announced Tuesday night in Medellin, appeared to be another effort to force the government to end its war on drugs and to stop extraditing traffickers to the United States.
On Tuesday, leftist guerrillas kidnaped the two Americans to protest Bush's visit Thursday to the coastal city of Cartagena and said they will put their captives on trial, police said.
The White House denounced the kidnapings and said it "cannot allow threats of terrorism to influence its policies or its activities."
Presidential spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said Bush "shares the concern of all Americans about the kidnaping of these U.S. citizens" and will cooperate with Colombian officials to help "in any way deemed appropriate to help resolve this situation."
The Americans were identified as David Kent, a teacher from Indianapolis, and James Donnelly, employed by a company that manufactures hydraulic equipment.
There were reports that Donnelly had been freed, but Fitzwater said today, "We believe those reports are inaccurate."
He said the U.S. Embassy has been in touch with members of Donnelly's family.