Colombia arrests 25 ‘Urabeños’ near Venezuela border

Rodolfo Palomino (Photo: EFE)

Colombia police said Sunday they have arrested 25 alleged members of neo-paramilitary group the “Urabeños” in the city of Cucuta, on the border with Venezuela. The arrests form part of “Operation Dignity,” an offensive that seeks to curb the neo-paramilitaries’ activities in the northern city and the arrest of Urabeños ringleader “Visaje” who is suspected of running the organization’s criminal activities in the Norte de Santander department, said Colombia’s top police commander, General Rodolfo Palomino. “Alias Visaje is one of the criminals we are looking for most and we most certainly will find find. Here [in Cucuta], the organization itself is cracked after the blows that we’ve given it,” Palomino told press when announcing the arrest wave. Colombia’s police is working together with Venezuelan authorities to combat the Urabeños, who have increasingly taken control of drug trafficking and extortion activities in the border region.

MORE: Firefight between police and neo-paramilitaries leaves 7 dead in northeast Colombia

The Urabeños are one of a handful of neo-paramilitary groups that emerged from the ranks of umbrella organization AUC after 2003 when the paramilitaries struck a deal with the administration of former President Alvaro Uribe to demobilize. Since then, the neo-paramilitary group has become the most important player in Colombian drug trafficking.

PROFILE: Urabeños

Cucuta, Norte de Santander



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