HomeNewsBriefFARC, BACRIM Dividing Gold Profits in Colombia Province: Police
BRIEF

FARC, BACRIM Dividing Gold Profits in Colombia Province: Police

COLOMBIA / 14 MAR 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Police in Colombia report that FARC guerrillas and BACRIM groups are working together to mine gold in the Pacific province of Choco, further evidence of the business relationship between these two groups, once bitter enemies, in the interests of the gold, as well as the drug, trade.

Following reports from local indigenous communities, police discovered three sites in Choco used by these groups to illegally extract 15 kilos of gold per month, worth over $500,000 on international markets.

According to the national police, one of the leaders of the 34th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Edison Tapias Maquilon, alias "Chaverra," has established a gold extraction alliance with members of the Urabeños. National Police Chief Rodolfo Palomino said the 34th Front is also working with the Rastrojos under Tapias' leadership, reported Caracol.

Police estimate Tapias has made $3.4 million from the trade. He is also accused of extorting artisanal miners working in the region.

Officials expressed concern over the damage caused to water sources through the use of cyanide and mercury by the illegal groups in the mining process.

InSight Crime Analysis

Gold is believed to have become a bigger source of income for Colombia's illegal groups than cocaine in eight of the country's departments, including resource-rich Choco.

While the FARC, in particular, have long charged fees to local miners to work in areas they control, they have increasingly grown to control the extraction process itself. The Urabeños are also known to control illegal gold mining operations, in both the northwest and northeast of the Antioquia department that borders Choco, some of which they allegedly bought from the Rastrojos. They use extremely toxic and dangerous methods in the extraction process, and control everything from the purchase of chemicals to the sale of gold.

Choco has become the main territory of the FARC's 34th Front, and three so-called "BACRIM" (for the Spanish "bandas criminales" - criminal bands) also operate in the region, including the Urabeños and the Rastrojos. There have been no reports of conflicts between the FARC and these groups, indicating they have respected a division of territory in the region. However, while scant on details, this present case indicates the 34th Front has now developed a direct working relationship with the BACRIM to control the gold trade in the region.

SEE ALSO: FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The BACRIM and the FARC maintain a drug trafficking business relationship, which has been evidenced in departments including the key gold mining regions of Choco and Antioquia. The FARC sells coca base to the BACRIM, but this relationship has also evolved over time. The development of gold ties is, perhaps, the logical next step.

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

BRAZIL / 7 OCT 2022

Latin America's environmental and land protectors are routinely murdered by the regions criminals.

ELITES AND CRIME / 17 NOV 2021

At around 11 p.m. on April 6, 2020, Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Solís was returning to the military base he commanded…

AUC / 16 JUL 2021

One of Colombia's foremost drug traffickers and money launderers has been assassinated in Bogotá, leaving important unanswered questions about his…

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…