HomeNewsBriefFARC's 6th Front Commanders Killed in Southwest Colombia
BRIEF

FARC's 6th Front Commanders Killed in Southwest Colombia

COLOMBIA / 20 AUG 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Security forces in Colombia have killed two top commanders of the FARC's 6th Front, one of the guerrilla's most militarily aggressive factions, which is heavily involved in the marijuana trade and vulnerable to criminalization if the rebels demobilize.

The front's acting leader, Ciro Antonio Patiño, alias "El Burro" and its third-in-command and military chief, Arley Medina Prado, alias "Jaimito," were killed in a joint operation by members of the Colombian army, police and air force on August 18, reported Semana

According to El Tiempo's account, security forces were assisted by a member of El Burro's own security ring, who was convinced to give exact coordinates of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) encampment in Toribio, a mountainous northern zone of the southwestern Cauca department that has long been a FARC stronghold and conflict hotspot.

The 6th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia is led by Miguel Angel Pascuas Santos, alias "Sargento Pascuas," one of the last surviving original FARC members. Sargento Pascuas joined peace negotiations in Havana, Cuba in fall 2012, leaving Patiño in charge.

InSight Crime Analysis

The FARC's 6th Front controls much of the area where marijuana is grown in the Cauca department, supplying it to domestic markets throughout Colombia and also exporting it abroad, mainly to Venezuela. The front has also been reported to engage in business deals with BACRIM group the Rastrojos, and is involved in illegal gold mining.

As noted in InSight Crime's special investigation into the possibility of the FARC demobilizing, the 6th Front's profitable criminal activities and reliance on the leadership of one man -- Sargento Pascuas -- mean it is particularly likely to criminalize if a successful peace agreement is reached in the ongoing talks in Cuba.

SEE ALSO: FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The deaths of the top two acting leaders of the 6th Front are a serious blow to the FARC, as it could significantly weaken an important unit, particularly as Sargento Pascuas sits at the negotiating table along with Jorge Torres Victoria, alias "Pablo Catatumbo," -- leader of the Joint Western Command, which maintains overall command of the front. 

However, it could also increase the possibility of the front criminalizing, as the lack of a respected command structure with a tight grip on the front's activities increases the possibility of fragmentation, with individual units taking advantage of the power vacuum to break away and pursue their own criminal profits. 

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.

Tags

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 / 22 SEP 2020

Recent reports of a group called the Border Command (Comandos de la Frontera) in the department of Putumayo, located on…

COLOMBIA / 12 MAY 2011

Reheated reports that Colombia's biggest guerrilla group the FARC trained pro-Chavez militia groups in Venezuela, while not new, are a…

COLOMBIA / 15 AUG 2011

Colombian police announced the capture of a link between major Colombian drug traffickers and the Mexico-based Zetas gang, but the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…