Forty-one of the suspects were arrested in the port city of Barranquilla and nearby the towns of Soledad, Malambo, Galapa, Sabanalarga and Baranoa. Five others were notified of their arrest while already in prison for other crimes, Santos said.
According to the president, currently campaigning for reelection, the wave of arrests is “one of the most major blows against criminal organizations dedicated to extortion and drug dealing in the past ten years.”
The suspected criminals are accused of running extortion rackets in the area around Barranquilla, Colombia’s biggest port on the Caribbean.
The Rastrojos are one of Colombia’s most powerful drug organization that is particularly strong in the southwest of the country where they are from. Since 2012, the group contracted significantly following the arrest and surrender of three of its founders and a subsequent turf war with rival drug trafficking organization “Los Urabeños.”