HomeNewsBriefColombia's BACRIM Count More Than 3400 Fighters
BRIEF

Colombia's BACRIM Count More Than 3400 Fighters

COLOMBIA / 8 SEP 2014 BY JEREMY MCDERMOTT EN

Police in Colombia have stated that the country's major drug trafficking syndicates currently have more than 3,400 members, present in at least 15 of the Colombia's 32 provinces.

The leading daily newspaper, El Tiempo, reported that Colombia's National Police registered 3,410 armed members of the BACRIM (from the Spanish "Bandas Criminales"), the latest generation of drug trafficking organizations. The article went on to note that the BACRIM have a presence in 130 municipalities in 15 of the country's provinces.

The government now recognizes the existence of three BACRIM, down from over 30 in 2008. These are the Urabeños, the Rastrojos, and the successor groups from the Popular Revolutionary Anti-Terrorist Army of Colombia (ERPAC).

The Urabeños are far and away the most powerful BACRIM in the country now, with 2,650 members, over 70 percent of the total number of BACRIM registered by the police. They are the only BACRIM with national reach, as illustrated in our map below, which shows the group's presence based on data from 2013. Urabenos-Areas of Influence 2012

However, the Urabeños are also under the greatest pressure from law enforcement, both national and international. The arrest yesterday of Cesar Daniel Anaya Martinez, alias "Tierra," one of the group's senior commanders, is the latest sign of this pressure. The police believe they are closing in on the Urabeños top leader, Dario Antonio Usuga, alias "Otoniel," and that his capture is imminent.

InSight Crime Analysis

The numbers given by the Colombian police are interesting, but perhaps slightly misleading. Such is the nature of Colombian organized crime today: much of the work carried out by BACRIM is subcontracted out to other lower-tier criminal groups, or common criminals. Thus while the core, armed members of the BACRIM number around 3,400, the total manpower the groups are able to call upon is actually a great deal higher.

Also relevant is the recognition that the Urabeños are today the most powerful BACRIM in Colombia. The Urabeños not only dominate the drug trade within Colombia, but now have a presence in many other countries around the region, and further afield. If recent arrests are anything to go by, it seemed the Urabeños are working aggressively to exploit the European market, leaving Mexico's domination of the US cocaine market largely unchallenged.

SEE ALSO: The "Victory" of the Urabeños: The New Face of Colombian Organized Crime

Of the other two BACRIM recognized by the Colombian government, the Rastrojos appear to be in terminal decline after the surrender of their leader Javier Calle Serna, alias "Comba," while the ERPAC dissident group the Liberators of Vichada, under the leadership of Martin Farfan Diaz Gonzalez, alias "Pijarbey," is aggressively expanding

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

COLOMBIA / 4 JUL 2017

Investigators from both Colombia and the United States have implicated at least 50 officials from Colombia's Attorney General's Office in…

COLOMBIA / 6 JAN 2016

Colombia's top police chief has said the armed forces may bomb more encampments belonging to criminal group the Urabeños, nearly a…

COLOMBIA / 22 JAN 2014

Human Rights Watch's annual global report underscores how impunity for both criminal groups and corrupt and abusive state institutions is…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…