HomeNewsBriefColombia Soldiers Allegedly Sold Weapons to FARC's Most Brutal Unit
BRIEF

Colombia Soldiers Allegedly Sold Weapons to FARC's Most Brutal Unit

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 1 MAY 2015 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

Authorities in Colombia have arrested a group of soldiers accused of providing arms to the FARC, raising questions over both the sources of the guerrilla group's weapons and the extent of the problem in the armed forces.

On April 29, Colombia's Attorney General's Office announced the detention of seven soldiers and six civilians for allegedly smuggling weapons and military supplies to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), criminal organizations known as BACRIM (from the Spanish for criminal bands), and common criminals, reported El Universal.

According to El Espectador, the arrests were the result of an investigation that began in September 2013 following the capture of an individual carrying 8,000 rounds of ammunition that belonged to the army's First Brigade and were allegedly destined for the FARC's 10th Front. 

Investigators determined that the group -- which consisted of 20 people -- began trafficking weapons in 2012. Seven of these individuals were active service military, while three were retired soldiers. Another nine members of the network were affiliated with the FARC. 

To remove the weapons from military stockpiles, the soldiers issued false reports indicating the loss of supplies. In two years, the group stole an estimated 100,000 cartridges, 1,000 grenades, 30 rifles, and 10 machine guns. In addition to working with the FARC's 10th Front, the network also allegedly smuggled weapons to the 6th Front and Teofilo Forero mobile column.

InSight Crime Analysis

The discovery of an arms trafficking ring involving members of the Colombian military raises concerns that other soldiers could also be selling military supplies to guerrilla groups and criminal organizations. 

Indeed, this scandal is not without precedent, and high-ranking Colombian army officials have previously been accused of selling weapons to criminal groups including the Urabeños.

In the past, the FARC have demonstrated a high degree of resourcefulness in securing arms, with neighboring Ecuador serving as an especially important source of weapons for the group. The FARC have also reached out to international arms dealers in order to purchase weapons, and even allegedly tried to obtain a $100 million loan from former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in order to buy surface-to-air missiles, according to e-mails recovered from the computer of deceased FARC commander Luis Edgar Devia Silva, alias "Raul Reyes." Some FARC fronts, including the 6th Front, have also exchanged drugs for weapons with criminal groups like the Rastrojos. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Arms Trafficking

Although widespread animosity towards the FARC among Colombian soldiers would presumably limit the extent of weapons sales to the group, the fact that the soldiers involved in the most recent scandal were allegedly trafficking weapons to the Teofilo Forero Column is a disturbing development for the army. This column is considered to be the FARC's elite unit and was responsible for the 2003 Club El Nogal bombing in Bogota as well as a number of assassination attempts targeting Colombian officials -- including former President Alvaro Uribe.

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 MAY 2022

Colombia's government and military have shown renewed urgency in attacking FARC commander Gentil Duarte, ramping up operations against his forces…

CARIBBEAN / 9 JUL 2021

Two days on from the nighttime assassination of Haiti President Jovenel Moïse in Port-au-Prince, competing theories have failed to provide…

COLOMBIA / 28 JUL 2021

Mexico's largest criminal groups are outsourcing the retrieval of cocaine shipments to smaller groups posing as fishing cooperatives, providing another…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…