HomeNewsBriefUrabeños Fight for Control of Colombia's San Andres Island
BRIEF

Urabeños Fight for Control of Colombia's San Andres Island

COLOMBIA / 23 OCT 2012 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

The Urabeños are fighting rival drug gangs, the Paisas and the Rastrojos, for control of San Andres, a Colombian island whose location close to the Nicaraguan coast makes it a natural stopping point for drug boats heading to Central America and through the Caribbean.

The Rastrojos, Paisas, and Urabeños each control their own drug smuggling routes through San Andres, navy commander Gabriel Perez told El Colombiano.

According to San Andres’ chief of police however, authorities have carried out nine operations arresting some 100 gang members in 2011, including several top leaders of the Paisas, and have virtually eliminated the threat of violence between gangs on the island. “The clash between these gangs will not come directly to San Andres because they don’t have the capacity to be there,” he said. "The actions we took against them last year were enough."

However, Perez warned the three gangs would adapt quickly to the loss of their leaders. “They mutate, they change leaders,” he told El Colombiano. Criminal groups will not be leaving the island any time soon, he added. “The geography is too good.”

InSight Crime Analysis

The Urabeños are likely to win a fight for control against the severely weakened Paisas and Rastrojos.

From their home base in Uraba in Colombia's northwest, the Urabeños have expanded over the last three years into neighboring Choco and further into Antioquia province, and have pushed eastward along the Caribbean coast to the Venezuelan border. In recent months, they’ve also stepped up their fight for control of the southwestern Valle del Cauca department on the Pacific coast. This region is the home turf of the Rastrojos, but they have been debilitated by the arrest and surrender of their main leaders.

San Andres is a natural stop-off point for the Urabeños from their drug launching points in the Gulf of Uraba and the Gulf of Morrosquillo, especially as they consolidate their power over the Caribbean coast. As set out by an InSight Crime investigation earlier this year, Nicaragua's Caribbean coastline is a key location for drug shipments heading north to the United States.

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 / 24 JUN 2021

The retirement of the ELN's top commander and political leader may have sweeping implications for the guerrilla group as it…

COLOMBIA / 15 JUL 2022

The death of one of the last-remaining leaders of the ex-FARC mafia may signal the disintegration of the FARC dissidents…

COLOMBIA / 29 MAY 2021

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

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…