Jose Antionio, alias “Jean Claude,” the recent leader of the Meta faction of ERPAC, handed himself over to national police early Wednesday according to newspaper Semana.
Jean Claude, successor to “Flaco Freddy,” had allegedly been controlling the Meta faction since Flaco Freddy’s capture last September. Jean Claude, through his criminal band, had been leading extortions and murders of cattle ranchers and farmers in the Meta and Guaviare regions, located in the center of the country.
The former neo-paramilitary group ERPAC split into two different factions some time after the demobilization of 267 ERPAC members which occurred on December 9 last year. ERPAC then became the factions of the Meta Bloc and “Libertadores de Vichada,” who together have between 450 and 800 fighters.
The Meta faction had been warring with their now rival gang Libertadores de Vichada, which had been trying to enter Meta territory, leaving a trail of killings in the area, many of which were of allegedly innocent bystanders who were not involved on either side of the gang war.
Although the war between the two factions was at a relative calm since March, each side claiming territory for their drug trafficking circles, the Meta Bloc has endured several set backs, including the capture of Flaco Freddy by Colombian police last September.
Jean Claude was part of the umbrella paramilitary group AUC until its demobilization in 2006, after which he had been working for ERPAC which then led to the dissident Meta Bloc. His name is included in the top 20 most wanted men in the department of Meta.