Colombian police said Saturday they have arrested another 13 members of neo-paramilitary organization “Los Urabeños.”
The arrests in the cities of Medellin and Santa Marta, and the towns of Frontino and Buenavista brings the total of arrested suspected neo-paramilitaries to 41 after the drug trafficking organization imposed a 48-hour shut-down in large parts of north Colombia on Wednesday.
The arrests are part of a new offensive against the criminal group that was announced by President Juan Manuel Santos on Friday while visiting Santa Marta, one of the cities that was shut down by the neo-paramilitaries.
Santos raised the reward for information leading to the arrest of Dario Antonio Usuga, alias “Otoniel” to $1 million and promised extra prosecutors to successfully prosecute those suspected of being a member of the Urabeños.
The president also vowed to present Congress legislation “with more teeth” to allow authorities to fight these groups — most of them formed from the demobilized paramilitary organization AUC.
In February 2011, then-defense minister Rodrigo Rivera also vowed to step up the fight against the Urabeños and introduced “Plan Troy,” a security plan that included an increase in security forces primarily in the violence-ridden Cordoba department. Despite this security offensive, The Urabeños strengthened their control over drug trafficking routes to the Caribbean coast.