HomeNewsBriefArms Seizure Underscores FARC-Rastrojos Alliance in Southwest Colombia
BRIEF

Arms Seizure Underscores FARC-Rastrojos Alliance in Southwest Colombia

COLOMBIA / 25 APR 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

Police seized a massive arsenal of weapons in southwest Colombia that they say was obtained as part of a deal between the FARC guerrillas and the Rastrojos drug gang, underscoring the alliance between the two organizations.

Colombia's police intelligence branch Dijin discovered a van in the city of Cali containing some 160 rifles -- including AK-47s and M16s --, four grenade launchers, 25 handguns and over 6,000 rounds of ammunition, among other weapons and communications equipment.

The vast arsenal was apparently heading to the nearby department of Cauca, where it would have formed part of a narcotics-for-guns deal between the 6th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Rastrojos, reported El Espectador.

National police chief General Oscar Naranjo stated, "this is one of the most important blows in recent months against arms trafficking to terrorist groups and criminal gangs."

InSight Crime Analysis

This latest seizure provides more evidence of an alliance between the FARC and the Rastrojos in Colombia's southwest. The two groups have been known to cooperate in other parts of the country, but as recently as 2011 they appeared to be fighting each other in Cauca. This dynamic has now changed, and earlier this year the navy discovered 1.5 tons of cocaine allegedly belonging to the two groups in the department of Nariño.

In the prototype example of a deal between "criminal bands" (BACRIM) and guerrillas in southwest Colombia, the Rastrojos and the National Liberation Army (ELN) consolidated a partnership in the region in 2006.

As InSight Crime has reported, ideological differences between the BACRIMs, which grew out of the paramilitaries, and their old enemies the guerrillas are largely irrelevant in the face of business deals between groups. In this arms seizure, for example, the FARC would have provided the narcotics -- either coca or marijuana, both of which the 6th Front cultivates on an enormous scale -- and the Rastrojos the arms and cash.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 7 MAY 2021

The cat-and-mouse game of evading law enforcement was taken literally by drug smugglers recently in Panama, who hid cocaine on…

COLOMBIA / 18 AUG 2011

Three Ecopetrol oil contractors were kidnapped by armed men in a rural area of Santander, northwest Colombia, in an attack…

COLOMBIA / 15 JUL 2021

A convicted cocaine trafficker is among the suspects that authorities in Haiti are pursuing in connection to the middle-of-the-night murder…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…

THE ORGANIZATION

Exploring Climate Change and Organized Crime

10 SEP 2021

In July, InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley moderated a panel for the Climate Reality Project's regional series of workshops for young climate activists in the Americas. The week-long event…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gearing Up a New Class of Interns

3 SEP 2021

InSight Crime is readying its newest class of interns – from universities in Europe and the Americas – to begin investigative work on a number of high-impact projects. For the…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Environmental Crime in the Amazon

27 AUG 2021

Next week, InSight Crime launches an investigation – conducted with Brazilian think-tank the Igarapé Institute – on the sophisticated organized crime structures and armed groups that…