ERPAC is a neo-paramilitary group primarily active in the eastern plains of Colombia. Authorities and researchers disagree about the size and the area of influence of the group.
“El Flaco Freddy”
The group, officially called Popular Revolutionary Antiterrorist Army of Colombia, was formed by “Cuchillo,” a long-time commander of the paramilitary AUC’s “Frente Heroes de Guaviare” and the “Bloque Centauros.” The dissident warlord formed his neo-paramilitary group around 2005 while the AUC officially was demobilizing.
Cuchillo, whose real name was Pedro Oliveiro Guerrero, formed the new group with other members of the AUC and took over the paramilitaries’ control of the drug and arms trafficking routes in the Meta, Guaviare, Vichada and Casanare departments.
Following the demobilization of the AUC, ERPAC aligned with drug trafficker Daniel “El Loco” Barrera and worked together with guerrilla group FARC that provided the neo-paramilitaries with coca base that was subsequently processed to cocaine and shipped to Venezuela. Aside its drug-traffickig activities, the group makes money through extortion and land-grabbing.
Since its foundation, ERPAC has gone through several transformations forced by ongoing pressure by the authorities, the death of Cuchillo in 2010, the demobilization of an estimated quarter of the group under the leadership of “Caracho” in 2011 and infighting that divided the group in two.
According to authorities, ERPAC split into “Bloque Meta” and “Libertadores de Vichada,” who together have between 450 and 800 fighters.
According to early 2012 police reports, leadership of the Libertadores was assumed by “El Tigre,” a mid-level commander under Caracho who inhereted his former superior’s criminal organization. However, El Tigre was reportedly replaced by Martin Diaz, alias “Pijarvey,” one of Cuchillo’s old associates who was released in January 2012 after spending three years behind bars on conspiracy charges.
The groups’ strongholds remain in the Meta, Guaviare and Vichada department, but according to researchers ERPAC has also emerged in the north and west of Colombia due to its factions’ alliances with other drug trafficking groups like the “Urabeños” and the “Rastrojos.”