Colombia arrests drug gang leader

September 25, 2013 4:56 pm
A Colombian soldier patrols the "Comuna 8" shantytown in Colombia in June 2012/AFP
A Colombian soldier patrols the “Comuna 8” shantytown in Colombia in June 2012/AFP

, BOGOTA, Sep 25 – Colombian police have arrested a leader of the Los Urabenos drug gang in a joint operation with Interpol, authorities said Wednesday.

Manuel Cordoba Paez, 43, who allegedly led the group in the northwestern province of Choco, was captured Tuesday in the northwestern city of Medellin.

Cordoba had two warrants against him on charges of aggravated conspiracy and an Interpol red notice.

The suspect, originally from Medellin and known by the alias “Tyson,” was demobilized in 2005 from a faction of the now defunct right wing paramilitary group United Self Defense of Colombia, or AUC by its Spanish acronym.

Los Urabenos emerged after the AUC was demobilized a year later.

Los Urabenos and the Los Rastrojos gang are considered the most dangerous crime groups in Colombia. Both are composed largely of former paramilitaries.

The right-wing groups, which committed atrocities against civilians during a conflict with leftist guerrillas, were demobilized between 2003 and 2006.

However, several paramilitary fighters kept their arms and formed criminal gangs the authorities call Bacrim, short for “bandas criminales” or criminal gangs.

Los Urabenos has grown to 2,366 members, up from 1,970 members in 2012, according to an April report by the Center for Integrated Intelligence.


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