“El Tigre” has taken over ERPAC, a neo-paramilitary organization mostly active in the southeast of Colombia, national authorities announced Friday.
The new neo-paramilitary boss was the second in command under Luis Rincon, alias “El Pajaro,” who demobilized with 283 other alleged members of the drug trafficking organization in December, media reported based on intelligence sources.
According to El Tiempo, El Tigre joined ERPAC in 2006 and is operating from the southeastern department of Vichada.
267 of the 284 alleged neo-paramilitaries were suprisingly sent home on their release. Following a storm of criticism, judicial authorities claimed Friday they have so far recaptured 67 of the released ERPAC suspects. Colombia’s Police also announced the seizure of more than 100 firearms belonging to the group who according to analysists controls the arms trafficking routes to and from Venezuela.
While before the demobilization authorities estimated ERPAC had some 1,100 men, the intelligence information given to RCN and El Tiempo claimed that ERPAC’s new leader has no more than 150 men under his command.
ERPAC was formed by “Cuchillo,” then a mid-level paramilitary commander of the partially demobilized AUC‘s Bloque Centauros, who never took part in the demobilization of the AUC between 2003 and 2006 and took over his former organization’s drug trafficking and arms trafficking routes along the Venezuelan border. Cuchillo died when trying to escape authorities in December 2010.