HomeNewsBriefAlleged Leader of Colombia's Anti-Land Restitution Army Captured
BRIEF

Alleged Leader of Colombia's Anti-Land Restitution Army Captured

AUC / 11 OCT 2012 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

Colombian authorities captured the alleged leader of a paramilitary-style group dedicated to opposing a government program to return stolen land to displaced peasants, meaning more details on this shadowy organization's operations could soon come to light.

Francisco Castro, alias “El Tuto,” was captured in the northern city of Barranquilla on October 10, reported El Tiempo. He has been charged with murder and criminal conspiracy and is accused of participating in one of the “most violent and significant land displacements,” in the northern Magdalena province, amounting to some 10,000 hectares, according to a National Police press release.

El Tuto is thought to have headed the so-called "Anti-Land Restitution Army," a group spawned out of resistance to Colombia's ambitious land restitution program. The program came into effect in January as part of the broader Victims Law that offers reparations to victims of Colombia's five-decade-old conflict. A reward of more than $80,000 had been offered for information on his whereabouts.

El Tuto was a former member of the Northern Bloc of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). Even after the AUC demobilized, El Tuto continued to be active in land theft in Magdalena, according to El Tiempo.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Anti-Land Restitution Army was reportedly borne out of a December 2011 meeting in the northeastern province of Cesar between local landowners and politicians. The impetus for the group's creation was to protect against recent guerrilla incursions into Cesar, though this quickly morphed into an opposition to the government’s program to restore land to displaced people.

Much was unclear about whether the group was indeed real in its early days. However, after the group’s threats against land restitution and human rights advocates circulated online in July 2012, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos recognized their existence.

The fall of El Tuto could serve as a blow to the group, but given that the driving force behind its creation is alleged to be politicians and landowners, they could easily seek out a replacement from the plethora of ex-AUC mid-level commanders who, like El-Tuto, failed to demobilize or re-armed themselves. What's more, another of the group's alleged leaders, Omar Montero Martinez, alias "Codazzi," is still at large.

The Anti-Land Restitution Army is just one among many potential opposition elements to the land restitution process. Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), along with AUC successor groups known as "bandas criminales," or BACRIM, all have a stake in the some 7 million hectares of stolen land in Colombia.

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 / 24 MAR 2022

The 2021 ranking of the world's most violent cities predictably features a heavy presence by Latin American and Caribbean population…

COLOMBIA / 29 MAY 2021

While Latin America is home to the trafficking of all manner of species, several foundations are working to save arguably…

COLOMBIA / 3 MAR 2021

Colombia is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, home to some 1,800 species of birds, 600 species of amphibians,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

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…