Colombian authorities announced on Thursday that Venezuela captured former AUC paramilitary commander Omar Montero Martinez, alias “Codazzi,” who is accused of stealing up to 25,000 acres from farmers in northern Colombia.
Venezuela’s Anti-Drug Office with help from Colombia’s Criminal Investigation Unit (DIJIN), arrested Codazzi in the western Venezuelan state of Trujillo, according to Colombia’s National Police.
President Juan Manuel Santos made Codazzi’s capture a national priority and an intensive manhunt began in 2011. The police call Codazzi “the greatest usurper of lands in the country.”
Codazzi was part of the “Bloque Norte” of the paramilitary umbrella organization, AUC. Codazzi was a close confidant of alias “Jorge 40,” commander of the “Bloque Norte.”
Codazzi has 18 warrants for his arrest for the crimes of forced disappearances, homicide, recruitment of children, robbery, and displacement. He was sentenced to 39 year in jail for the homicide of a lawyer in 2003.
Codazzi also allegedly participated in six massacres in 2001 and 2002. In one particular event, 47 fisherman were brutally murdered in a hail of gunfire and machetes. Jorge 40 was sentenced to 47 years in prison for ordering the massacre, but will only serve eight years since he is enrolled in the Justice and Peace Law.
Accion Social conducted a study that documented over 36,000 displaced people in the area where Codazzi operated, according to the Colombian show “Fugitivos.” Much of the territory Codazzi seized is now in the hands of third parties and plantations of palm trees.
Ricardo Sabogal Urrego, Director of the Land Restitution Agency said on “Fugitivos” that the area taken was about 20,000 to 25,000 acres.
Colombian authorities praised the dedication and hard work of the “sister republic” of Venezuela to bring Codazzi to justice.
Codazzi supposedly fled from Colombia to work in Venezuela’s drug gangs because of the massive manhunt for his capture.
- Cae el mayor usurpador de tierras (Policia Nacional)
- Omar Montero Martínez – Alias Codazzi Primera Parte – FUGITIVOS HD (Youtube)