HomeNewsBriefUrabenõs Boss Killed in Shootout with Colombian Police
BRIEF

Urabenõs Boss Killed in Shootout with Colombian Police

COLOMBIA / 26 APR 2013 BY CLAIRE O NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

One of the Urabeños' top commanders was killed in a shootout with police in the organization's native Uraba region, in a serious blow to the most powerful of Colombia's new-generation criminal groups.

On his Twitter account, President Juan Manuel Santos said Francisco Morelo Peñata, alias "El Negro Sarley," was the Urabeños' "military boss and second-in-command." He was reportedly the brother-in-law of the group's top leader, Dario Antonio Usuga, alias "Otoniel."

Police told press that El Negro Sarley had participated in massacres and was responsible for multiple homicides and large-scale drug trafficking.

Prior to his death, El Negro Sarley was in charge of moving drug shipments out of Colombia and into Panama via the gulf of Uraba, reported Semana. Morelo had remained constantly on the move in the countryside to evade authorities, traveling by mule and never staying in one place for more than a day.

InSight Crime Analysis

El Negro Sarley was a key member of the small group that make up the Urabeños' top command, and his death will be a significant loss to the organization. 

Like many of the other current and former leaders of the Urabeños, he began as a member of now-demobilized guerrilla group the Popular Liberation Army (EPL). After the EPL disbanded, many fighters, including El Negro Sarley and the Usuga brothers, joined up with the paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) before becoming leaders of the new-generation BACRIM ("bandas criminales" or "criminal bands") after the AUC demobilized.

In November 2012, police sources reported that Morelo had relocated to Panama to oversee the Urabeños' money laundering network and rebuild the group's regional alliances. Previously, he had been the Urabeños' top commander in the department of Choco, which joins Colombia's Pacific coast to the Caribbean.

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 / 21 APR 2022

Everything from turtles, iguanas and parrots is trafficked through Cartagena, Colombia's illegal wildlife trade.

COLOMBIA / 11 AUG 2022

Colombia's last remaining guerrilla group may be the linchpin to future negotiations the Colombian government is expected to enter into…

BOLIVIA / 8 NOV 2022

The Amazon is one of the world’s most biodiverse regions, where wildlife trafficking threatens hundreds of thousands of species.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…

WORK WITH US

Work With Us: Research Internship and Editorial Internship

31 OCT 2022

InSight Crime, a think tank dedicated to the study of organized crime and citizen security in the Americas, is seeking interns and investigators to join its dynamic, multinational team.