Colombian authorities have captured 29 suspected members of neo-paramilitary criminal gang the Gaitanistas, one of the country’s most ambitious and deadly drug trafficking organizations.
The arrests in the northern departments of La Guajira, Cordoba and Magdalena were part of Operation Roma, a police offensive against the group, under which 50 arrest warrants have been issued.
Among those captured in La Guajira was Jose Joaquin Padilla, alias "Magnifico," believed to be a chief financial officer for the Gaitanistas.
In Cordoba, seven people were captured in a joint operation carried out by the police and army in the rural area of Monteria, while police in Magdalena captured 18 alleged gang members.
Those arrested face a litany of charges including drug trafficking, manufacturing and possession of drugs, conspiracy to murder, illegal possession of weapons and aggravated murder.
Police Commander Oscar Gamboa Arguello said Operation Roma will continue until all 50 subjects of the arrest warrants have been captured.
Colombian security forces recently captured Rodrigo Antonio Oquendo Urrego, alias "Rigo" or "Uber,” a Gaitanistas boss and close associate of the Usuga brothers, who lead the gang.