A retired Colombian colonel is suspected of being at the center of a nexus of corruption involving neo-paramilitaries, Mexican drug cartels, and numerous corrupt members of the Colombian security forces.
According to local media, the retired colonel, known only by his alias “Mano Negra” (Black Hand), has been instrumental in the neo-paramilitary organization “Los Urabeños‘” infiltration of the Colombian security forces. It is through him supposedly that the neo-paramilitaries allegedly enlisted members of the security forces to assist in the transport of drugs.
Mano Negra is not just a middle man who received small payments for his services according to reports. In exchange for his assistance, the retired colonel has allegedly negotiated for himself a leadership position among Los Urabeños and he is heavily involved in the coordination of international and national drug shipments. As a purported paramilitary leader, Mano Negra reportedly receives a cut from the entire Los Urabeños operation.
The information comes from three alleged key witnesses — a retired member of the security forces, and two former members of Los Urabeños — who have been assisting the Prosecutor General’s investigation.
These same witnesses allege that Mano Negra has links to the infamous Mexican drug cartel, “Los Zetas,” having sent retired Colombian special ops soldiers to train members of the cartel and to provide them with protection.
The investigation is reportedly being conducted with close collaboration between Colombia’s prosecutor general and the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), both of whom allegedly have in their possession records which corroborate the allegations made by the three key witnesses.
In the past few months, 21 members of Colombia’s security forces have been arrested on charges of drug trafficking. Many of these arrests are allegedly owed in part to the information provided by the aforementioned witnesses.
The DEA is reportedly preparing requests for extraditon of various members of Los Urabeños.
Cooperation between the notorious Colombian neo-paramilitaries and the Mexican cartel made headlines after multiple large-scale cocaine shipments were seized in Cartagena intended for Los Zetas.
PROFILE: Los Urabenos