Gang leader recaptured after house arrest escape

Colombian paramilitary leader Daniel Alejandro Serna, alias “Kener,” was recaptured on a farm outside Medellin on Tuesday, two days after allegedly fleeing house arrest.

The fugitive, leader of the Medellin paramilitary organization known as the “Office of Envigado,” had been hiding out on a farm in the town of Titiribi, about an an hour and a half outside of Medellin. El Tiempo reports that the farm is located at the end of a hidden path in the neighborhood of Santana, reputed to be a hideout and sanctuary for various paramilitary groups.

Defense Minister Gabriel Silva confirmed the capture, and said that government intelligence reports about the fugitive’s whereabouts signalled that he was already coordinating gang activities and assassinations from his new hiding place. Silva cited Kener’s intentions to plan these activities as the motive for his escape.

Kener has told police that he was kidnapped and fled from his captors, a theory that authorities ruled out after sending 50 police officers to Titiribi to follow up on the intelligence reports.

Silva also confirmed that the $250,000 reward for information leading to Kener’s capture would be paid, and that the convict is now being moved to a secure facility in Bogota.

Kener had originally been placed under house arrest due to kidney and intestinal problems, and escaped on Sunday when men dressed as officials from Colombia’s national prison authority (INPEC) came to his house, claiming they were there to transfer him to another facility.

The escape led to finger-pointing among the Colombian authorities, with the Prosecutor General’s office and the prison service each blaming the other.

Medellin Mayor Alonso Salazar said “I don’t know what the judges or the prosecutors think or who gave the authority, but there’s something that doesn’t smell right to me in all of this,” reports CNN.

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