The alleged second-in-command of Colombia’s most powerful neo-paramilitary group, the Urabeños, has been captured in Honduras, reported Colombian media Tuesday.
Alexander Montoya Usuga, alias “El Flaco,” was arrested Tuesday morning in Honduras in a joint operation between Honduran and Colombian authorities. Montoya had allegedly served as number two in the Urabeños since early 2012 and was reportedly in charge of managing the organization’s drug routes in northwestern Colombia. He was detained on charges of murder and drug trafficking.
El Flaco reportedly travelled to Honduras from an unknown country in an airplane stolen from Bogota’s El Dorado airport earlier this year.
According to authorities, the 33-year-old drug lord belonged to the “Usuga clan,” a family considered to be in charge of the powerful drug trafficking organization. He was allegedly promoted to second-in-command after his cousin, Juan de Dios Usaga, alias “Giovanni,” was killed by Colombian security forces on January 1, 2012.
However, on Wednesday morning the chief of Colombia’s National Police, Jose Roberto Leon Riaño, said El Flaco had served as third-in-command of the organization.
Before working with the Urabeños, he was a member of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, a now-demobilized right-wing paramilitary organization.
Authorities said El Flaco’s ascent to second-in-command of the organization facilitated the rise of his ally, Henry de Jesus Lopez, alias “Mi Sangre,” one of the most senior Urabeños members in the city of Medellin.
He was wanted by Interpol for crimes against humanity, theft, a plethora of drug-related offenses and crimes involving the use of weapons and explosives, organized crime and transnational crime.
Colombia’s defense minister, Juan Carlos Pinzon, praised Colombian and Honduran police for the arrest and said “no member of this criminal or terrorist organization can sleep well, not in Colombia nor in the exterior, early or late, [we are] showing the state will reach them.”