HomeNewsBriefColombia Dismantles Urabeños Cocaine Trafficking Network
BRIEF

Colombia Dismantles Urabeños Cocaine Trafficking Network

COLOMBIA / 27 JUN 2016 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

The recent bust of a drug trafficking network linked to the Urabeños criminal organization exemplifies the type of increased pressure Colombia's security forces are set to apply on organized crime as the FARC rebel group prepares to exit the conflict.

Police have arrested 26 members of a network that trafficked cocaine to Europe for Colombia's most powerful criminal organization, the Urabeños, El Colombiano reported. (See video below) The suspects are reportedly key associates of the Urabeños' second-in-command, Roberto Vargas Gutiérrez, alias "Gavilán."

The network allegedly camouflaged cocaine loads in banana shipment containers, which left from the Caribbean ports of Urabá and Santa Marta and were destined for Holland, Belgium and Spain.

The operation took place in eight municipalities across the departments of Antioquia, Magdalena and Risaralda. Over $80,000 in cash was seized in Colombian and US currency.

The alleged leader of the network is Miller Alberto García Buitrago, alias "Chiqui," who was extradited to the United States in 2008 for ties to the Medellín Cartel's Enrique Ochoa Vasco, and returned to Colombia after negotiating with the US government. Authorities say the pastor of a protestant church in Santa Marta used his position to launder drug money. An export company representative who provided the cargo transport paperwork was also arrested.

Published by El Colombiano, courtesy of the National Police

InSight Crime Analysis

This operation is an example of the mounting pressure the Urabeños will be facing now that a bilateral ceasefire agreement has been announced between the Colombian government and rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC). As part of the ceasefire agreement, the government pledged to set up a national commission that will determine the best way to dismantle organized crime and neo-paramilitary groups. And President Juan Manuel Santos has insisted that combating organized crime will become a top priority for Colombia's security forces once a peace deal is signed with the FARC. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Urabeños

Still, this is more of a continuation than a true shift in government policy. The Urabeños are already being heavily targeted, with the launch of a security operation against the organization in 2015 and later the creation of an elite police unit known as the Search Bloc. The increased pressure has affected the Urabeños' drug trafficking operations in their home base of Urabá, but it has not led to the capture of any of the group's top leadership. 

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 / 25 JUL 2022

The Urabeños, and some smaller Colombian gangs, have sent a letter to president-elect Gustavo Petro to seek peace.

COLOMBIA / 6 MAR 2015

Despite a government intervention in Buenaventura last year, Colombia's Pacific port city is still wracked by violence as criminal groups…

COLOMBIA / 1 OCT 2019

The killing of the leader of the EPL’s political and military wings by the Colombian army comes at a critical…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua Becomes Truly Transnational

29 JUL 2022

This week, InSight Crime published a deep dive into the total control that Venezuelan mega-gang, Tren de Aragua, has over the lives of those it smuggles between Venezuela and Chile…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkish Traffickers Delivering Latin American Cocaine to Persian Gulf

15 JUL 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an investigation piecing together the emerging role of Turkish cocaine traffickers in supplying Russia and the Persian Gulf, which are among…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkey as a Lynchpin in European Cocaine Pipeline

8 JUL 2022

InSight Crime is extending its investigation into the cocaine pipeline to Europe, and tracking the growing connections between Latin American drug traffickers and European criminal organizations. This led us to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Memo Fantasma Coverage Gets Worldwide Attention

1 JUL 2022

Guillermo Acevedo, the former Colombian drug lord and paramilitary commander better known as Memo Fantasma, may soon be allowed to leave prison. Since first revealing the identity of Memo Fantasma…

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…