According to the official version, the Urabeños are run by Dairo Usuga, alias “Otoniel” and, to a lesser extent, Henry de Jesus Lopes, alias “Mi Sangre.,”
But according to Semana these two former commanders of the officially demobilized paramilitary organization AUC’s Bloque Capital only run the neo-paramilitary organization’s activities in the northwest of Colombia.
According to the magazine, Don Mario — who is locked up in Bogota’s La Picota Prison — is not using telephones or internet to command the organization, but has been receiving frequent visits by former AUC members “Gomelo” and “Chocolate” who carry the jailed drug lord’s orders to commanders across Colombia.Los Urabeños news archive
While Semana withholds the identity of Don Mario’s contact persons, Gomelo was previously mentioned as close ally of Mi Sangre who mediated an alliance between Los Urabeños and the jailed “Valenciano,” a Medellin gang leader who allowed the Urabeños entry to the west of Colombia’s second largest city which is mainly controlled by the rival “Oficina de Envigado.”
Chocolate was one of Don Mario’s subordinates in the AUC’s Bloque Centauros before the group’s official demobilization.
According to Semana’s intelligence sources, Gomelo and Chocolate maintain contact with commanders in the north-west and the central-south-west of Colombia, areas where Don Mario, whose real name is Daniel Rendon Herrera, and his brother Freddy, alias “El Aleman” used to be in control while being part of the AUC.
One alleged commander of Don Mario’s organization, “Nene,” was reported arrested by Colombian police in June.
Following Don Mario’s arrest in April 2009, Colombia’s police claimed it had fully dismantled the “Autodefensas Gaitanistas” — the official name of the Urabeños — in December 2010. Contrary to previous official claims, the Urabeños are now considered one of Colombia’s strongest drug trafficking groups with more than 2,000 armed members.