HomeNewsBrief'Urabeños Taking Over FARC Drug Trade'
BRIEF

'Urabeños Taking Over FARC Drug Trade'

COLOMBIA / 20 MAY 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

The Urabeños are reportedly recruiting former FARC rebels and have taken over part of the guerrillas' drug trafficking operations, suggesting that the criminal group is already poised to take advantage of the FARC's possible demobilization.

The director of Colombian think-tank the Conflict Analysis Resource Center (CERAC), Jorge Restrepo, told EFE that the Urabeños have already made inroads into territory controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the southern border department of Nariño and the Bajo Cauca region in the north.

According to Restrepo, the Urabeños are not seeking to merge with FARC fronts, but are co-opting fighters one by one. The criminal organization is also buying fields of illicit crops and drug trafficking routes once controlled by the guerrillas, he added. In at least one part of the country -- the Pacific coast along Nariño and Cauca department -- the Urabeños are in conflict with the FARC, along with rival organization the Rastrojos, over control of the region, Restrepo said. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC, which began in October 2012, have continued at a sluggish pace. However, there have been several indications in Colombia's criminal underworld that the guerrillas expect negotiations to be successful.

In March, there were reports that mid-level FARC commanders were selling off their interests in Colombia's eastern drug trade to Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel. These latest comments by Restrepo suggest that the Urabeños are also looking to capitalize on the FARC's possible divestment from the drug trade.

The struggle for control over the drug trafficking operations once managed by the FARC is one of the most serious problems presented by the guerrillas' possible demobilization. If the rebels agree to lay down arms, what will then happen to the criminal businesses -- drug trafficking, extortion, gold mining -- that they once managed? Tackling these issues will likely be the most significant security challenge facing the Colombian government, should the peace talks result in the dismantling of the FARC. 

There is also the risk that regardless of whether the peace process is successful, the FARC will continue to fragment and become more deeply involved in criminal activities. A six-part special investigation on the potential criminalization of the FARC, which InSight Crime will publish May 21, will examine some of these questions. 

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 / 27 MAR 2017

The EPL is reportedly expanding across Colombia's northeast, as the FARC withdraws from one of the country's largest coca growing areas.

COLOMBIA / 3 MAR 2016

Following a damaging sex scandal, Colombia's new police chief is attempting to restore his institution's image while also reducing crime,…

COLOMBIA / 26 SEP 2012

In many parts of Latin America, bus drivers are under threat from local gangs who demand regular extortion payments. Refusal…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.