HomeNewsBriefDo the Urabeños Have a Future Outside Colombia?
BRIEF

Do the Urabeños Have a Future Outside Colombia?

COLOMBIA / 6 APR 2015 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

Authorities have captured six alleged members of Colombian criminal group the Urabeños -- however, none of them are reportedly Colombian nationals, raising questions about the group's international reach and where their base of operations may move to in the future.

With support from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Colombia's investigative police, known as the DIJIN, arrested eight alleged members of the Urabeños criminal network, six of who were non-Colombian nationals, in multiple raids, reported El Espectador.

Among those taken into custody were a Panamanian, a Dominican, two Nicaraguans, two Ecuadorians, and two Colombians. According to EFE, the two Ecuadorians were arrested in Guapi -- a town in the department of Cauca -- while the other six were arrested in Panama City.

The alleged leader of the network -- accused of smuggling drugs from Colombia’s coasts into Panama -- was a 45-year-old Panamanian known by the alias "David." 

Authorities also confiscated three separate drug shipments that added up to 1.4 tons of cocaine, reportedly destined to the United States and Europe. 

InSight Crime Analysis

What's particularly notable about these captures is the diversity of nationalities among those detained. The Urabeños have previously shown some international reach in Spain, and one of their top leaders was arrested while hiding out in Argentina. And while the group is reportedly expanding, they are not known for recruiting their core members from other countries in the Caribbean or Central America. 

Nevertheless, as InSight Crime suggested last year, the dilution of the Urabeños' core leadership -- as key leaders continue to be captured or killed -- could cause their base of operations to shift away from their traditional stomping ground, a region in northwest Colombia known as Uraba. .

SEE ALSO: The Victory of the Urabeños

Such a process may be expedited by the Colombian government’s recent and intensified efforts to dismantle the group in Uraba and capture its leader, Dario Antonio Usuga, alias “Otoniel.”

Indeed, Otoniel’s demise appears imminent. If he is killed or captured, it is possible that the resulting fallout will cause the Urabeños network to move abroad, especially if the group’s core membership becomes more international.

The variety in size of the seized cocaine shipments is also worth noting -- ranging from just under 400 kilograms to just over 600, this provides further indication that the days of multi-ton drug shipments may be disappearing, with Colombian traffickers preferring to bet on smaller, less risky drug shipments.

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

COCAINE / 13 APR 2022

The arrest of yet another alleged Sinaloa Cartel emissary in Colombia has once again raised questions about the extent of…

COCAINE / 18 JAN 2022

Authorities in Colombia have netted the country's "king" of drug submarines – a man whose services, prosecutors allege, have been employed…

BOLIVIA / 20 APR 2021

An old associate of Pablo Escobar, who spent 27 years in prison in the United States, is behind bars once…

About InSight Crime

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…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…