The military raid was carried out by the army’s 30th Brigade with the support of the National Police in a rural area of Norte de Santander, along the Venezuelan border. Nine rifles, an estimated 2,500 rounds of ammunition, 39 grenades and several cartridges were seized, according to an army press release.
The seven Rastrojos members surrendered to the military after a tense standoff in an area close to the municipality of San Faustino.
The 30th Brigade was responsible for capturing 103 people belonging to criminal groups in 2012, according to Colombia’s Armed Forces.
The arrests followed a pair of operations against the Rastrojos in the past week. National police confiscated a weapons stash allegedly belonging to the group Tuesday. The following day, police announced the arrest of six suspected high-ranking Rastrojos members during a joint operation with the air force in southwestern Colombia that led to the dismantling of nine encampments used for the manufacture and transport of drugs.
The Pacific-based Rastrojos are one of Colombia’s most powerful transnational crime syndicates, but have suffered a series of severe blows in recent months, including the July arrest of Edison Antonio Pelaez, alias “Mincho,” who, according to officials, served as the acting boss of the group after the surrender of Javier Antonio Calle Serna, alias “Comba,” to U.S. authorities in May.