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.

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 / 15 APR 2021

Colombia remains a hotspot for forced recruitment of minors. In this, the last of a three-part investigation by InSight Crime,…

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…

COLOMBIA / 1 AUG 2017

Colombia's FARC guerrillas are just weeks away from completing their demobilization, but reports of arms thefts, drug trafficking, forced recruitment…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.