Colombia’s police say they captured 121 members of criminal groups over the course of one week, Colombian media reported Tuesday.
Operations over the last seven days in nine Colombian departments led to the detention of 44 members of the neoparamilitary gang “Los Urabeños,” 44 members of “Los Paisas,” 31 members of “Los Rastrojos” and two members of “ERPAC.”
Authorities also confiscated 65 firearms, more than 1,000 cartridges of ammunition and 12 grenades, and destroyed two of the principal drug labs owned by “Los Urabeños” in Antioquia, in the process detaining 21 criminals and 103 kilos of cocaine.
Organized criminal organization formed from the demobilized paramilitary organization AUC and defunct Norte del Valle cartel are currently operating in 17 departments and 151 municipalities of the country, and could account for up to 40% of murders in Colombia, according to the government. In January, Police Chief Oscar Naranjo called these gangs the biggest emerging threat to internal security.
Colombian NGO Indepaz placed this number even higher in a March report, stating that the criminal organizations may have a presence in as many as 360 of approximately 1,000 Colombian municipalities.