HomeNewsBriefWill Urabeños Break Peace Among Ecuador’s Crime Groups?
BRIEF

Will Urabeños Break Peace Among Ecuador's Crime Groups?

CRIMINAL MIGRATION / 8 NOV 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Colombia's principal criminal organization, the Urabeños, have marked their arrival in Ecuador with a series of killings, kidnappings and extortion of rivals as they look to establish a firm foothold in a country that is now a hub of global organized crime.

In recent months, Ecuadorean authorities have linked several large cocaine seizures to the Urabeños, the first time the group has been publically identified as operating in Ecuador.

However, intelligence reports obtained by El Comercio link the narco-paramilitary group to a series of drug related murders carried out last year in the Province of Los Rios. The reports also suggest the Urabeños have been targeting networks linked to rival groups in Ecuador with kidnappings and extortion, and by seizing their cash, vehicles and properties, as they try to establish dominion and edge out rivals.

SEE ALSO: Urabeños Profile

According to Colombian Police Chief Jose Roberto Leon, Ecuador was also one of the countries that renowned drug trafficker and leading member of the Urabeños Henry de Jesus Lopez, alias "Mi Sangre," passed through after fleeing Colombia. Mi Sangre was captured in Argentina in October 2012.

InSight Crime Analysis

In recent years, Ecuador has lived up to its billing as the "United Nations of Organized Crime." As highlighted by El Comercio, the country has not only attracted the main players in the regional drug trade -- Colombian suppliers and Mexican buyers -- but also organized crime rings from around the world, including Nigeria, Russia, and China.

There are numerous reasons for the growth in Ecuador's popularity with drug trafficking organizations, but the main reason has been the ease with which Colombian groups involved in drug production and transit, principally the FARC guerrillas and the Rastrojos, have been able to operate freely on both sides of the border.

Lax and under resourced security, especially in ports and along the coasts, then make it an ideal dispatch point for the Colombians' cocaine, bringing in the Mexican cartels -- particularly the Sinaloa Cartel, which is known to have established a firm presence in the country -- and wholesale buyers from the world's other principal markets and trafficking hubs.

However, these transnational groups have so far maintained a low profile, and their spread has not been accompanied by a dramatic spike in violence. These latest reports raise the possibility that this could change if the Urabeños -- the most aggressive and militaristic of Colombia's narco-paramilitary groups -- try to seize control of this critical criminal hub by force.

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

CRIMINAL MIGRATION / 24 JAN 2014

A key witness in the trial for a Zetas massacre in Guatemala has revealed how the Mexican cartel's original high…

BRAZIL / 9 JAN 2018

The arrest of a Mexican drug lord in Brazil sheds new light on the international operations of one of Mexico’s…

ECUADOR / 24 FEB 2015

In just the first two months of the year, Ecuador drug seizures have increased fivefold compared to the same time…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.