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Colombia

Despite the government’s advances in security over the last decade, at least a half dozen major criminal groups still operate in Colombia. Several of them have put ideology aside and focus on drug production, trafficking and distribution on a local level, even while they continue to move arms, launder money, kidnap and extort. The complicated panorama has been fueled by the recent demobilization of thousands of right-wing paramilitaries and left-wing guerrillas. These ready recruits and experienced fighters have pushed levels of violence to their previous marks in some areas, particularly in urban settings where they seek to push more consumption. Mexican trafficking groups appear to be taking advantage of the chaos making the long-term prospects grim.

Colombia News and Investigations

Criminal Personalities

  • Jorge Briceño Suarez, alias 'Mono Jojoy'

    Until his death in September 2010, Víctor Julio Suárez Rojas, alias 'Mono Jojoy,' was the top military commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de...
  • Guillermo Leon Saenz Vargas, alias 'Alfonso Cano'

    Guillermo León Sáenz Vargas, alias 'Alfonso Cano,' is the supreme commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC), the...
  • Diego Perez Henao, alias 'Diego Rastrojo'

    Diego Pérez Henao, alias 'Diego Rastrojo,' is the head of security for the Rastrojos, a Colombian criminal syndicate whose reach stretches the length and width of the country.
  • Eliecer Erlinto Chamorro, alias 'Antonio Garcia'

    Eliécer Erlinto Chamorro, alias 'Antonio García,' is the number two commander in Colombia’s National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberacion Nacional – ELN) rebel group.
  • Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, alias 'Gabino'

    Nicolás Rodríguez Bautista, alias 'Gabino', was a peasant recruit who has emerged to become the top leader of the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberacion Nacional – ELN).
  • Erick Vargas Cardenas, alias 'Sebastian'

    Erick Vargas Cardenas, alias "Sebastian," is a former hitman turned leader of the feared Oficina de Envigado organization that operates in and around Medellin, Colombia.
  • Javier Antonio Calle Serna, alias 'El Doctor'

    Javier Antonio Calle Serna, alias 'El Doctor,' is a leader in the feared and ambitious Rastrojos criminal organization in Colombia.
  • Luis Enrique Calle Serna, alias 'Comba'

    Luis Enrique Calle Serna, alias 'Comba', is the top leader of the Rastrojos, a group of former paramilitary hitmen turned drug trafficking organization in Colombia.  Serna started as an...
  • Daniel Barrera Barrera, alias 'El Loco'

    Daniel Barrera Barrera, alias "El Loco," is the closest thing Colombia has to a present-day Pablo Escobar. He uses a vast network of collaborators, from former paramilitaries to leftist guerrillas,...
  • Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco, alias 'Valenciano'

    Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco, alias 'Valenciano,' is a leader in the Oficina de Envigado criminal organization that operates in and around Medellín, Colombia, and has forged ties with international...
  • Pedro Oliveiro Guerrero, alias 'Cuchillo'

    Oliveiro began his criminal life working with Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, alias 'El Mejicano,' the former Medellín Cartel leader who financed numerous paramilitary groups in the 1980s before being...
  • Luciano Marin, alias 'Ivan Marquez'

    Luciano Marín, alias 'Iván Márquez,' is a member of the Secretariat, or ruling council, of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC)....
  • Cesar A. Torres Lujan, alias 'Mono Vides'

    A former fighter for the Mineros Bloc in the United Self-defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia - AUC), Torres temporarily operated in the coca-rich mountains of the Bolívar...
  • Angel de Jesus Pacheco Chacy, alias 'Sebastian'

    Colombian authorities have placed a $50,000 award for Angel de Jesús Pacheco, alias 'Sebastian,' and he is generally recognized as being responsible for a great deal of the mayhem that afflicted the...
  • Rafael Alvarez Pineda, alias 'Chepe'

    Rafael Alvarez Piñeda, alias 'Chepe,' remains an ally of another of the Paisas leaders Cesar A. Torres, even as other sub-lieutenants have chosen to break away from the Paisas in favor of...
  • Dario Antonio Usuga

    Dario Antonio Usuga has a long and bloody history of working for various illegal armed groups in Colombia. He reportedly began his military career as a member of the now defunct guerrilla group, the...
  • Juan de Dios Usuga, alias ‘Giovanni’

    While under the command of Daniel Rendon Herrera, alias ‘Don Mario,’ Juan de Dios Usuga headed the organization’s military wing. After Rendon’s arrest, Usuga and his brother Dario Antonio...

Criminal Groups

  • Aguilas Negras
    Aguilas Negras The Aguilas Negras, or Black Eagles, emerged from the failures of the demobilization process between 2004 and 2006, which aimed to disarm the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas…
  • Urabeños
    Urabeños One of the many groups made up of former mid-level paramilitary leaders, the Urabeños have caused homicide rates to skyrocket in Colombia’s northern departments. The Urabeños, also known as the Autodefensas…
  • ELN
    ELN The National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional - ELN) is one of the two main guerilla armies with left-wing political ideologies operating in the Colombian territory. Initially a Marxist-Leninist…
  • Oficina de Envigado
    Oficina de Envigado The inheritors of Pablo Escobar’s drug trafficking empire in Colombia, the Oficina de Envigado is now a hodgepodge of smaller organizations that seeks alliances with street gangs to keep control…
  • FARC
    FARC As the biggest irregular guerrilla army in Colombia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC) operates in different regions of the country mainly in…
  • ERPAC
    ERPAC Using a large, military-like structure and hierarchy, the Popular Revolutionary Antiterrorist Army of Colombia (Ejército Revolucionario Popular Antiterrorista Colombiano - ERPAC) controls vast territory in Colombia that it uses to…
  • Paisas
    Paisas Colombian criminal group the Paisas are trying to appropriate the drug smuggling networks once controlled by the paramilitaries, but unlike their rivals they are more disorganized and prone to infighting. The…
  • Rastrojos
    Rastrojos The Rastrojos is an outgrowth of the powerful Norte del Valle drug trafficking organization in Colombia with a national and international reach. Using what was left of a strong network…
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