HomeNewsWith Killings, Urabeños Send Colombia Police Message in Blood
NEWS

With Killings, Urabeños Send Colombia Police Message in Blood

COLOMBIA / 28 JUL 2022 BY JAVIER LIZCANO VILLALBA EN

Notorious Colombian drug group the Urabeños has killed dozens of police officers in recent weeks, in a calculated display of force intended to challenge the state and send a brutal message to the country’s incoming government.

A total of 25 police agents have been murdered in recent weeks across the country. The most recent attack came on July 26, when an officer was gunned down by a sniper in Tibú, northeastern Colombia. The murders appear to be part of a series of coordinated attacks against police in areas controlled by the Urabeños, also known as the Gulf Clan (Clan del Golfo), according to Colombia news outlet El País.

The bulk of murders have come in the departments of Antioquia, Chocó, Córdoba, and Sucre. There, the Urabeños have a commanding presence and have been at the center of the violence.

As part of the group's murder campaign, known as the "Pistol Plan," the Urabeños are purportedly offering between $1,000 and $4,000 for each police officer killed (approximately 4.5 to 18 million Colombian pesos), Cambio reported.

SEE ALSO: Urabeños Ask Colombia's Incoming Government to Negotiate

In response to the killings, Colombia police chief General Jorge Vargas said the security forces would not "bow down to the actions of narcoterrorists," adding the attacks were likely ordered by one of group's the main leaders, Jobanis de Jesús Ávila, alias 'Chiquito Malo,' in response to recent cocaine seizures made by the authorities.

In mid-July, a letter apparently signed by the Urabeños and other criminal networks declared the group's intention to enter peace talks with the incoming government of Gustavo Petro. Days later, however, a pamphlet signed by the Urabeños denied the letter's authenticity, casting doubt on the group's intentions to negotiate.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Urabeños' so-called Pistol Plan shows the group still has the ability to launch a coordinated operation against security forces, despite taking several blows over the last year.

Major setbacks in 2022 included the extradition of the group’s top leader, Dairo Antonio Úsua, alias "Otoniel." Following Otoniel's extradition in May, the group decreed a paro armado, or armed strike, paralyzing swaths of territory in northern Colombia for several days, and sending a clear message to the country's security forces.

The group has also been hard hit by arrests, with authorities capturing dozens of its members in recent months. There are also rumors of a possible war of succession within the group following Otoniel's extradition.

In light of these setbacks, the Pistol Plan may be a deliberate ploy by the Urabeños leaders to show strength ahead of the change in government.

SEE ALSO: Does Armed Strike Mark Urabeños' Last Stand Together?

The Urabeños have reportedly killed at least 22 police members this year in the departments of Antioquia, Chocó and Córdoba, northern Colombia. Some of these areas are controlled by top leader Chiquito Malo, according to a security expert who spoke to InSight Crime on condition of anonymity.

Another Urabeños leader, Wilmer Antonio Giraldo Quiroz, alias 'Siopas,' controls the Córdoba department where a patrol officer was killed on July 21 and where authorities are at high risk of further attacks, the same security expert told InSight Crime.

The Pistol Plan could also spread west to other parts of Chocó and the Pacific Coast, controlled by the last of the group's three main leaders, José Gonzalo Sánchez Sánchez, alias 'Gonzalito.'

The wave of violence against police – the deadliest seen since 2017 – has shaken Colombia's security establishment and shown the Urabeños are still a force to be reckoned with. It has also raised doubts about the outgoing government’s declaration that the group was close to petering out in late 2021.

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 / 15 JUL 2014

Panama's border police have killed two alleged FARC members in combat near the border with Colombia, a dense jungle region…

COLOMBIA / 27 OCT 2015

Colombia's second-largest guerrilla group has carried out its deadliest attack in years by killing 12 members of the security forces,…

COLOMBIA / 30 MAR 2012

According to a top Colombia energy official, as much as 10 million gallons of illegal gasoline is smuggled every month…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Oceans Pillaged in Central America and the Caribbean

5 AUG 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the first installment of a nine-part investigation uncovering the hidden depths of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Latin America. The first installment covered Central America and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua Becomes Truly Transnational

29 JUL 2022

This week, InSight Crime published a deep dive into the total control that Venezuelan mega-gang, Tren de Aragua, has over the lives of those it smuggles between Venezuela and Chile…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkish Traffickers Delivering Latin American Cocaine to Persian Gulf

15 JUL 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an investigation piecing together the emerging role of Turkish cocaine traffickers in supplying Russia and the Persian Gulf, which are among…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkey as a Lynchpin in European Cocaine Pipeline

8 JUL 2022

InSight Crime is extending its investigation into the cocaine pipeline to Europe, and tracking the growing connections between Latin American drug traffickers and European criminal organizations. This led us to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Memo Fantasma Coverage Gets Worldwide Attention

1 JUL 2022

Guillermo Acevedo, the former Colombian drug lord and paramilitary commander better known as Memo Fantasma, may soon be allowed to leave prison. Since first revealing the identity of Memo Fantasma…