HomeColombiaLibertadores del Vichada
COLOMBIA

Libertadores del Vichada

COLOMBIA / LATEST UPDATE 2015-11-17 23:23:31 EN

The Libertadores del Vichada were a splinter group of the Popular Revolutionary Anti-Terrorist Army of Colombia (ERPAC), based in Colombia’s Eastern Plains. The criminal organization oversaw a substantial drug empire, including cocaine processing laboratories, coca cultivation and drug trafficking routes, as well as a network of hitmen.

However, as of 2017, according to Colombian authorities, the group has been successfully dismantled.

History

The Libertadores del Vichada were one of two main splinter groups that formed following the dissolution of the ERPAC, which itself emerged in the wake of the demobilization of paramilitary umbrella group the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) in the mid-2000s. Initially, the ERPAC was led by Pedro Oliveiro Guerrero, alias “Cuchillo,” and until his death in 2010, it controlled a significant portion of the drug trade in the Eastern Plains region.

A year after Cuchillo’s death, his successor, Jose Eberto Lopez Montero, alias “Caracho,” turned himself in with some 260 ERPAC fighters. By February 2012, the remaining ERPAC members had formed into two main splinter groups, the Libertadores del Vichada and the Meta Bloc, numbering around 560 fighters in total.

The Libertadores del Vichada were then taken over by Martin Farfan Diaz Gonzalez, alias “Pijarbey Cuchillo’s former military leader and second-in-command – following his release from prison.

Under Pijarbey’s leadership, the group fought against the Meta Bloc for control of ERPAC’s coca crops, cocaine laboratories and trafficking routes to Venezuela. The Libertadores del Vichada allied themselves with the Urabeños, while the Meta Bloc had the support of powerful drug lord Daniel Barrera, alias “El Loco.” Both Barrera and Meta Bloc leader Rubber Antonio Navarro Caicedo, alias “Flaco Fredy,” were captured in September 2012, positioning the Libertadores del Vichada to take over ERPAC’s former territories.

The Libertadores del Vichada have also been linked to extortion and to a fuel theft network dismantled in July 2014. The network allegedly infiltrated transnational oil company Pacific Rubiales and stole up to 200 gallons a day for use in Pijarbey’s cocaine laboratories.

Although the group appears to be expanding its reach, it also suffered a series of blows in 2013 and 2014, with the captures of numerous high ranking members. This downward spiral continued with the death of Pijarbey in 2015 and, by 2017, the group ceased to be a functional criminal threat.

Leadership

Since the death of Martín Farfán Díaz Gonzales, alias “Pijarbey” in 2015, and his second-in-command, alias “Movil 7,” in 2017, the group has constantly changed leadership as a result of the actions of public security forces, as has happened with aliases “Tigre,” “Caratejo,” “Wilmar,” “Perla” y “El Mexicano.”

In the first half of 2020, two of the highest ranking leaders were arrested, leaving Los Libertadores without a single defined leader.

The name “Libertadores del Vichada” has continued to be used by Colombian authorities, in connection to certain arrests, but it is uncertain to what extent any of its former members are re-using the name. 

Geography

The main area of operation for the Libertadores was the region known as the Eastern Plains, which incorporates the departments of Meta, Vichada, and Guaviare.

Allies and Enemies

The Libertadores were allied with the Urabeños and may also have had ties to the Oficina de Envigado, a Medellin-based drug network. Authorities began to investigate this relationship after key Oficina operative, alias “Cesarin,” sought refuge in the Libertadores’ territory.

The panorama of the Eastern Plains, particularly on the Venezuelan border, led to the group establishing alliances with structures within the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional – ELN) and the ex-FARC Mafia, with regard to the coordination of criminal activity and the provision of certain services, such as security or enforcing justice in the territories they control.

The Libertadores’ main enemies were rival ERPAC splinter groups, such as the Meta Bloc, and other smaller criminal structures.

Prospects

The Libertadores del Vichada controlled a lucrative drug empire, including profitable trafficking routes to Venezuela, which allowed their leaders to form alliances with other criminal groups from around the region in regards to drug shipments.

Today, while the name “Libertadores del Vichada” has continued to surface in police reports and media articles about the arrests of drug traffickers in Vichada, it is uncertain to what extent former members are re-using the name as part of a new criminal group. 

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 8 JAN 2019

Turbulence reigned in 2018, but there was one constant: the flow of Venezuelans fleeing their country. The unceasing migration has…

ARGENTINA / 10 NOV 2015

Just weeks before Argentina's presidential election, a prominent Colombian drug trafficker claimed he has information that will enable investigators to…

BOLIVIA / 20 MAR 2012

Bolivia’s government has announced plans to set up a bilateral intelligence sharing center with Colombia, to help combat drug trafficking…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…