HomeNewsBriefPolitical Candidates Arrested in Raid Against Colombia’s Urabeños
BRIEF

Political Candidates Arrested in Raid Against Colombia’s Urabeños

COLOMBIA / 4 JUN 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Police in Colombia have captured two candidates for local government positions who authorities say are members of neo-paramilitary organization the Urabeños, the most recent indication of the social and political ties this criminal group maintains in the country’s northwest. 

Colombian authorities captured 41 alleged members of the Urabeños in several provinces along Colombia’s Caribbean coastline as part of a police operation dubbed “Agamemnon,” reported El Tiempo. A mayoral candidate in the municipality of Tuchin, Cordoba, identified by Colombian media outlets only as “Soycer,” was among those arrested. Alias “Soycer” allegedly ran the organization’s local financial operations and may have used state resources allocated to a business he manages for criminal purposes. Police captured another political candidate in Tuchin, identified as “Amadid,” who was aspiring to become a local councilman, according to El Universal

Authorities also arrested Edgar Durango Tordecilla, alias “el Mono,” who police identified as one of the top 10 most wanted suspects within the criminal organization. Tordecilla is a former member of paramilitary organization the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), where he served under current Urabeños leader Dario Antonio Usuga, alias “Otoniel,” according to El Tiempo. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The arrests of two political candidates in Cordoba are the latest indication of the degree to which the Urabeños have infiltrated local communities in some of the areas where they operate. In May, authorities arrested a bishop in the northwest region of Uraba, the Urabeños’ stronghold, for allegedly laundering drug proceeds on behalf of the criminal organization by disguising the illicit funds as church donations. 

In spite of their status as a type of criminal organization known as BACRIM (from the Spanish for “criminal bands”), the Urabeños have sought to portray themselves as the “third actor” in Colombia’s armed conflict, and have previously called for inclusion in the country’s peace talks. The Colombian government has resisted labeling the Urabeños as political actors, but nonetheless appears to be seriously considering the possibility of a mass demobilization for the criminal group. 

SEE ALSO: Urabeños News and Profiles

Meanwhile, security forces continue to capture large numbers of alleged Urabeños members even as Otoniel, Colombia’s most wanted man, remains a fugitive. In February, authorities announced a security offensive aimed at capturing Otoniel, the head of the only BACRIM that still maintains a national reach.

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

COLOMBIA / 11 APR 2018

An area of Medellín once considered one of the most violent and crime-ridden places in Latin America is emerging as…

COLOMBIA / 22 NOV 2018

The government of Colombia has rejected the appointment of a top ELN commander as a delegate in peace talks and…

COLOMBIA / 1 MAY 2013

As the biggest irregular army in Colombia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia…

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…