HomeNewsBriefColombian Gangs Battle It Out in Venezuela

Colombian Gangs Battle It Out in Venezuela


Two of Colombia's most powerful drug trafficking organizations have taken their war across the border into Venezuela, eager to secure crossing points and influence in this crucial transit nation.

Four people were killed, two of them Colombian nationals, in a clash between rival gangs in the Venezuelan municipality of Pedro Maria Ureña, in the border state of Tachira. The area borders a national park, and is a staging post for drug shipments heading into the Venezuelan interior, having crossed from Colombia.

The two Colombians killed were believed to belong to the Urabeños, a powerful Colombian gang that dominates that nation's Caribbean Coast. The other side in the firefight were likely from their rivals the Rastrojos. Both groups are fighting a battle across Colombia for control of movement corridors and departure points for drug shipments.

InSight Crime Analysis

Venezuela is now the principal transit nation for Colombian cocaine, with up to 200 tons passing through on its way to US and European markets. With the rise of powerful Mexican gangs and their control over the US market, Colombians have increasingly turned their attention towards Europe, and Venezuela is the bridge to the Old World.

The Venezuelan border states of Apure, Tachira and Zulia, all have registered presence of Colombian transnational criminal (TCOs), primarily the Urabeños, but also that of rebel groups of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN).

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.


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.


Related Content


A powerful Caracas gang has imposed a curfew after police raids left a dozen people dead – another example of…

COCAINE / 21 FEB 2022

When authorities in Spain captured the first known drug submarine to cross the Atlantic, questions soon surfaced about how such…

COLOMBIA / 18 MAY 2021

The killing of a notorious Colombian dissident guerrilla leader on Venezuelan soil has the potential to destabilize underworld dynamics in…

About InSight Crime


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…