InSide Colombia's BACRIM

COLOMBIA / 13 JUL 2017

Emerging from the ashes of Colombia’s bloody paramilitary counter-insurgency in the mid-2000s came a new type of criminal network Colombia’s authorities christened “bandas criminales” (BACRIM) or criminal bands. The BACRIM have since become the dominant criminal force in the Colombian underworld.

These criminal hybrids oversee cocaine trafficking and have established illicit empires in illegal mining, extortion, and the trafficking of everything from people to weapons. The most powerful of these networks in Colombia is the Urabeños, whose network stretches into two-thirds of Colombian states and whose criminal “franchise” has become the model for much of organized crime in the country.

Today, the Colombian underworld — flooded with cocaine from booming coca production and rife with criminal opportunities created by the withdrawal of thousands of demobilizing leftist insurgents — stands on the cusp of seismic change. The Urabeños and other BACRIM will play a decisive role in shaping this new order.

This special multimedia report takes you deep inside an Urabeños’ cell in the prized criminal territory of Bajo Cauca, a region in the northern part of the department of Antioquia. It offers a unique insight into how a BACRIM network operates and what their role in the underworld is.

Based on three years of investigation and interviews with current and former BACRIM members with different ranks and responsibilities, this report presents the BACRIM in the words of its members, as well as their victims and the Colombian authorities. The section on money examines the ways the BACRIM profit from a broad and diversified portfolio of criminal activities. Power analyzes the BACRIM’s inner dynamics, structure, and social control. Murder breaks down the functioning of the BACRIM’s armed wings and their assassin networks.

Chapter 1

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

COLOMBIA / 13 JUL 2017

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal…

Chapter 2

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

COLOMBIA / 13 JUL 2017

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today:…

Chapter 3

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

COLOMBIA / 13 JUL 2017

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point…

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 16 JAN 2018

Has Colombia's FARC really left the country's criminal scene? Yes, and absolutely not. The rebel army is gone, and has…

COLOMBIA / 6 JAN 2014

A recent article in the Washington Post about the CIA's participation in the precision bombing of FARC guerrilla leaders…

COLOMBIA / 27 JUN 2011

An armed group killed eight villagers and wounded four others in a weekend raid on a bar in the southern…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…

icon #SupportFreePress
image

Support Our Work

Investigating organized crime is an expensive and often risky enterprise. Reaching primary sources and getting the real story involve extensive fieldwork. Please donate. Every dollar supports our mission.

DONATE NOW image