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 / 1 JUL 2022

Colombian police uncovered a sex ring featuring underage migrants from Venezuela. Why does sex trafficking flourish in border areas?…

COCA / 25 MAR 2021

The sheer size of Colombia's reserves makes them a target for the illegal clearing, appropriation and sale of protected land.

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 19 MAY 2022

Cocaine processing has taken root on European soil, Mexican and Dutch synthetic drug traffickers have partnered up, and a new…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…