HomeNewsBriefEcuador Zeros In on Powerful FARC Dissident as Others Lurk in Shadows
BRIEF

Ecuador Zeros In on Powerful FARC Dissident as Others Lurk in Shadows

ECUADOR / 21 JUN 2018 BY BJORN KJELSTAD AND JAMES BARGENT EN

Ecuadorean authorities have identified new players from the ex-FARC mafia network headed by alias “El Guacho.” But while authorities edge closer to Colombia’s most notorious new-generation criminal, the power behind him could be operating in the background.

A police intelligence reported obtained by El Telégrafo lists 20 names from the network of former fighters from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC) that is commanded by Colombia’s most-wanted criminal, Walter Arizala Vernaza, alias “Guacho.”

Among them were explosives experts, logistics and financial specialists, commanders of militia networks and the man Ecuadorean authorities believe to be Guacho’s second-in-command, Carlos Landázuri, alias “Comandante Gringo.”

The self-proclaimed Olíver Sinisterra Front (Frente Olíver Sinisterra) operates in the southwestern Colombian state of Nariño and in Ecuador, controlling key cocaine production and distribution routes out of Colombia.

In recent months, the group has committed audacious acts of violence such as bombing a police station in Ecuador, along with kidnapping and murdering two Ecuadorean journalists and their driver.

InSight Crime Analysis

The exposure of the identities of key personnel in Guacho’s network is the latest sign that the authorities are closing in on the most notorious ex-FARC mafia leader in the country.

There are now 2,000 military personnel in Nariño as part of a joint Colombia-Ecuador security operation, and Guacho’s high-profile atrocities have made him their number one target. Within the last month, his brother and his alleged previous second-in-command have both been captured, his alleged cocaine shipments have been seized, and a bombing raid killed six members of his personal security team, according to official accounts.

However, while actions such as the murder of the Ecuadorean journalists have made Guacho a famous ex-FARC mafia leader in Colombia, he is not the most powerful. Outside of the southwest, the dissident networks managed by Iván Mordisco, Gentil Duarte and Jhon 40 eclipse the reach and capacity of Guacho.

SEE ALSO: Profile of 1st Front Dissidence

It is even unlikely that Guacho is the real power in the southwest. Prior to the formation of ex-FARC mafia groups, Guacho was allegedly a favored underling of Gustavo González Sánchez, alias “Rambo,” head of the FARC’s Daniel Aldana Mobile Column and a veteran of not only the conflict but also the transnational drug trade.

Rambo’s current whereabouts are unknown, but in contrast to the young and inexperienced Guacho, he has the contacts and expertise necessary to pull the strings of the drug trade in Colombia’s principal cocaine dispatch point.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

ECUADOR / 8 MAR 2012

An assessment by the security forces reportedly says that Ecuador is home to an increasing number of organized criminal groups,…

COCAINE / 22 NOV 2019

Gerald’s rise to becoming one of the most notorious drug traffickers Ecuador has produced to date was meteoric. But his…

ECUADOR / 28 APR 2011

600 uniforms intended for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC) were seized…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…