HomeNewsBriefColombian 'Rastrojos Gang Boss' Arrested in Venezuela

Colombian 'Rastrojos Gang Boss' Arrested in Venezuela


Venezuelan authorities captured an alleged leader of the Colombian Rastrojos drug gang, who had allegedly fled over the border after a clash with the rival Urabeños, pointing to the ongoing struggle for control of drug routes into Venezuela.

Marco Aurelio Vera, alias "Macuto," an alleged leader of the Rastrojos, was arrested by Venezuelan authorities in late April in the border state of Tachira. Venezuelan Defense Minister Henry Rangel Silva (pictured) announced his capture to journalists on Friday, reports Notimex.

Macuto was reportedly captured with two others after fleeing a battle with rival Colombian drug gang the Urabeños on the Colombian side of the border, and was injured. He is the target of an Interpol Blue Notice, and is one of Colombia's 20 most wanted criminals, according to Globovision.

Macuto is set to be sent to Colombia in the coming days.

InSight Crime Analysis

In January this year, another firefight between the Urabeños and Rastrojos reportedly resulted in the death of four people, two of whom were Colombian, in Tachira. These clashes highlight the importance to Colombia's drug gangs of controling trafficking routes into Venezuela, a country that is now believed to be the principal transit point for Colombian cocaine. The US State Department put the amount of cocaine that passed through Venezuela in 2011 at between 161 and 212 tons.

The Rastrojos have come to dominate the drug trade along Venezuela's border, carving out an alliance with the Mexican Zetas, according to a recent report by think tank Nuevo Arco Iris. The latest battles with the Urabeños suggest that this control will not go unchallenged by the Urabeños.

Cooperation between Venezuelan and Colombian authorities has been on the rise over the last two years. In February, one of the last remaining leaders of the paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) was arrested in the Venezuelan state of Anzoategui, just months after Venezuelan forces detained one of Colombia's top drug lords, Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco, alias "Valenciano."

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


Colombian police uncovered a sex ring featuring underage migrants from Venezuela. Why does sex trafficking flourish in border areas?…

COCAINE / 2 MAY 2022

One of the first Balkan cocaine traffickers to ever establish a presence in South America and forge criminal alliances between…


rmed men ambushed a group of gold miners near the Corre Gente mine in the municipality of Sifontes, near to…

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…