HomeNewsBriefColombia Police Dismantle 100s of Gangs in 2012
BRIEF

Colombia Police Dismantle 100s of Gangs in 2012

COLOMBIA / 21 JUN 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Colombian police broke up over 700 criminal gangs over the last year, highlighting the increasingly fragmented criminal landscape in Colombia, with smaller, localized operations more focused on domestic sources of criminal revenues.

Presenting a statistical breakdown of his first year in office, police chief Jose Roberto Leon Riaño announced police had dismantled a total of 786 criminal gangs, captured 242 drug traffickers and extradited 192 more, dismantled 40 trafficking networks, and carried out 243 operations targeting the financial infrastructures of criminal groups, reported Vanguardia.

In operations targeting street level drug dealing -- microtrafficking -- police seized 99,184 kilos of cocaine, 132,182 tablets of synthetic drugs and 291,220 kilos of marijuana. In actions taken against kidnapping and extortion, they arrested 2,038 people and solved 1,041 cases.

InSight Crime Analysis

The astonishingly high number of gangs dismantled by police reflects broader changes in the Colombian underworld. There are few countries that can boast the sort of success Colombia has had in dismantling large scale drug trafficking operations. However, that success has come at a price.

The atomization of hierarchical structures such as the Medellin Cartel or the paramilitary army of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia fuelled an explosion in smaller criminal groups and left those already in existence -- such as the street gangs contracted by drug cartels -- to operate without the revenues provided and order imposed by larger, more powerful organizations.

Pressure on international drug trafficking also led to groups turning inwards in search of profits, with activities such as micro-trafficking, extortion and kidnapping becoming more important sources of income.

The challenge of confronting domestic crime was underscored by the murder of a DEA agent the same day as the police statement. Whereas in the past, such a killing would have roused suspicions of the involvement of drug cartels, in this case it appears the agent was a victim of a "paseo millonario" (millionaire's walk). When the agent took a taxi, the driver stopped to allow criminal associates in, who would normally have escorted their victim to a cash machine to clear out his account. However, for as yet unknown reasons, the assault went wrong and the agent was stabbed.

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.

Tags

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 / 14 AUG 2017

The United States has requested the extradition of several Colombian emerald magnates on drug trafficking charges, marking the…

COLOMBIA / 5 SEP 2011

U.S. and Colombian authorities have chalked up a series of victories against the organization of one of Colombia's most prolific…

COLOMBIA / 21 APR 2011

Forty-five Mexican police have been arrested over alleged ties to the Zetas cartel. The police are all from…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.