HomeNewsBriefIn Post-Conflict Colombia, Criminal Group a Model for FARC Drug Trade
BRIEF

In Post-Conflict Colombia, Criminal Group a Model for FARC Drug Trade

COLOMBIA / 20 JAN 2016 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

Authorities have arrested the leader of a criminal group whose operations in southwestern Colombia may become a model for elements of the FARC guerrillas that remain involved in drug trafficking. 

On January 14, Colombian police captured Miguel Antonio Bastidas Bravo, alias "La Gárgola" or "Capo del Sur," in the southwestern city of Cali, reported El Tiempo.

According to El Espectador, Bastidas was the leader of a drug trafficking group known as "La Constru." He allegedly coordinated cocaine shipments through the Colombian departments of Putumayo and Nariño, along the Pacific Coast, and on to Mexico. Authorities say he is responsible for the production and sale of 2,000 kilograms of cocaine per month.

Previously arrested in 2013, Bastidas has been on the run after managing to escape, reported Caracol. Among the charges he stands accused of are murder, conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, and arms trafficking.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Colombian government is entering the final stages of its peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC). Currently, talks are underway in Havana, Cuba over the final agenda point of ending the conflict and implementing a bilateral ceasefire. The goal is for a negotiated settlement by March 23.  

One of the main concerns surrounding the government’s peace talks with the FARC, however, is the potential criminalization of certain FARC elements. The FARC has long been known to engage in the drug trade, although leaders routinely deny or downplay the extent of the group’s involvement.

SEE ALSO: FARC, Peace, and Possible Criminalization 

Groups like the Constru, which is a former paramilitary outfit, are believed to work for the FARC: buying coca base from the guerrilla group, processing it into cocaine, and moving it along the coast or into Ecuador under FARC protection before ultimately selling it to Mexican drug groups. The majority of earned proceeds go to the FARC, helping to fund its operations.

Such a model helps the FARC maintain deniability regarding its involvement in the drug trade. One possibility is that even in a post-conflict Colombia, elements of the FARC would seek to maintain relationships with groups like the Constru. Such a phenomenon will like stir great controversy, especially if other factions of the FARC form a political party and become involved in mainstream Colombian politics.

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 / 8 DEC 2021

Three FARC dissident commanders have become the first people to be charged with criminal deforestation under a new law aimed…

COLOMBIA / 24 NOV 2022

Migrants crossing the Darién Gap between Colombia and Panama face extortion, rape, violence, and being forced to carry drugs.

COCAINE / 19 AUG 2021

Colombia's northern city of Santa Marta has seen a shocking rise in murders this year as smaller gangs are getting…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…