HomeNewsBriefColombia’s Anti-Drug Policy Benefiting BACRIM: Inspector General
BRIEF

Colombia’s Anti-Drug Policy Benefiting BACRIM: Inspector General

COCA / 22 APR 2016 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Colombia’s Inspector General has said the country’s softened position on eradicating coca crops has benefited the neo-paramilitary organizations known as the BACRIM, raising the question of whether these groups will be the big winners in the event of a peace deal with leftist guerrillas.

Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez Maldonado said the criminalized paramilitary networks known as BACRIM (from the abbreviation of “criminal bands”), alongside rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC), have profited the most from the government’s decision in May 2015 to ban the aerial spraying of glyphosate on coca crops, reported El Espectador

“There is this great fallacy and it is affirming that [the government] is combating the criminal bands,” Ordóñez said. “The criminal bands and the FARC have been the primary beneficiaries of the government’s policy of dismantling the war against illicit crops.”

Ordóñez stated the new anti-drug policies have provided “more money for those who cultivate and process [coca crops] like the FARC and the criminal bands. This impacts citizen security and strengthens [the FARC and the BACRIM] economically and territorially.”

InSight Crime Analysis 

Ordóñez has long been a fierce critic of the government’s coca policies and is also a major opponent of its peace process with the FARC. But his comments are somewhat surprising given the sustained pressure Colombia’s security forces have placed on the BACRIM — especially the Urabeños, widely recognized as the country’s most powerful criminal organization.

Since the beginning of 2015, Colombia has launched two security offensives — Operation Agamemnon in February 2015 and the Search Bloc in March 2016 — designed to dismantle the Urabeños and other organized crime structures and capture their leaders. Although the Urabeños‘ top boss, Dario Antonio Úsuga, alias “Otoniel,” remains free, several important commanders have been captured, including two in the past week: Edgar Antonio Gutiérrez, alias “Tomás,” and Fernely Guevara Pérez, alias “Manuel.” 

SEE ALSO: Urabeños News and Profiles

Moreover, the recent surge in Colombia’s coca cultivation is likely to have economically and territorially strengthened guerrilla groups more than the BACRIM, as it is the rebels groups that oversee the majority of the country’s coca crops.

Nevertheless, a peace deal between the government and the FARC would provide the BACRIM with a golden opportunity to deepen their involvement in the drug trade and move down the trafficking chain towards production.

As InSight Crime has previously documented, it’s likely that some elements of the FARC would seek to continue running illicit activities rather than demobilize. These FARC holdouts may well join BACRIM, transferring their contacts and criminal know-how in the process. There are also already indications the Urabeños are moving into FARC-held territory as the prospect of a guerrilla demobilization gets closer, in what is potentially a foreshadowing of how Colombia’s criminal landscape might mutate in the aftermath of a peace agreement. 

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 / 23 JUN 2017

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos opted for grandiloquence on June 23 in Paris, France, declaring the end of the…

COLOMBIA / 29 MAY 2013

Four ex-police generals have been called to testify in an investigation into former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's relationship with his…

ARGENTINA / 31 DEC 2013

We can already identify some of the trends that are likely to mark the evolution of organized crime in 2014.

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…