Urabeños

The Urabeños, also known as the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces, are one of the most ambitious, ruthless and aggressively expansionist of Colombia's drug trafficking organizations. One of a number of groups made up of former mid-level paramilitary leaders, they have caused homicide rates to skyrocket wherever they have appeared.

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Latest News

COLOMBIA / 12 JUL 2021

The pandemic has done nothing to reduce clashes between criminal actors in Colombia, with a rise in violence in early…

COLOMBIA / 17 JUN 2021

A criminal group in Colombia is turning dirty money into adulterated gold, in the latest addition to a long list…

COLOMBIA / 2 JUN 2021

The Colombian government has, rather optimistically, announced the demise of one of the country's more aggressive criminal groups, in a…

COLOMBIA / 8 APR 2021

Children serve in a wide range of roles in criminal organizations: errand boy, landmine builder, frontline combatant and assassin. In…

COLOMBIA / 1 APR 2021

As in the darkest days of Colombia's civil conflict, armed groups across the country continue to enlist and exploit teenage…

COLOMBIA / 16 MAR 2021

A leader of what was once Colombia's largest guerrilla organization has announced the revival of one of its most formidable…

Key Actors

Marcos de Jesus Figueroa Garcia, alias 'Marquitos'

COLOMBIA / 2016-11-17 14:46:48

Marcos de Jesus Figueroa Garcia, alias "Marquitos," is a powerful underworld figure in Colombia's northeast provinces of La Guajira and Cesar, whose reach extends deep into the region's political establishment.

Roberto Vargas Gutiérrez, alias 'Gavilán'

COLOMBIA / 2017-09-01 17:13:50

Roberto Vargas Gutiérrez, alias "Gavilán," transformed himself from Maoist guerrilla to paramilitary fighter to top leader of the Urabeños. He turned himself in to authorities twice, only to return…

Henry de Jesús López, alias 'Mi Sangre'

COLOMBIA / 2017-03-09 22:14:34

Medellin native Henry de Jesus Lopez, alias "Mi Sangre," had a prolific criminal career that saw him become a key number of several criminal organizations in Colombia.

Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias 'Otoniel'

COLOMBIA / MARCH 14, 2018

Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias “Otoniel,” is the head of Colombia’s most powerful criminal group, the Urabeños, and the country’s most wanted man. But his grip on power is slipping as…

Juan de Dios Úsuga, alias 'Giovanni'

COLOMBIA / 2017-03-09 23:54:35

Juan de Dios Usuga, alias "Giovanni," headed the Urabeños' military wing while the group was under the command of Daniel Rendon Herrera, alias "Don Mario."…

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Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

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InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

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InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.

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