Medellin crime syndicate Oficina de Envigado, once founded by Pablo Escobar, wants to lay down its weapons, two alleged crime bosses told television newscast Noticias Uno.
According to “Tito” and “Giovanny,” two self-proclaimed leaders of one of the city’s oldest and largest criminal organizations, the Oficina de Envigado members are willing to lay down their arms.
PROFILE: Oficina de Envigado
The Oficina bosses joined their allies of Colombia’s largest neo-paramilitary organization “Los Urabeños” who in June last year already had said they were interested in laying down weapons.
According to Giovanny, filmed unrecognizably in what appears to be the 8th District of Colombia’s second largest city, his organization is seeking a similar dismantling of the organization.
The reason for the proposed demobilization is the criminals’ sensation that “those who have been victimized most are our own families.”
The crime lord told Noticias Uno that a possible demobilization of one Medellin’s oldest living criminal groups “won’t happen overnight” because “dismantling a criminal structure that has lasted for decades isn’t simple.”
Additionally, Giovanny urged the government to not try to use a possible demobilization for electoral or political gain and to avoid shoving a deal with the government “down the people’s throats.”
The Oficina de Envigado was formed by Escobar, Colombia’s most iconic drug lord, in the 1980s to unite Medellin gangs and militias to form one large enforcer army.
The alliance of gangs later came under the control of “Don Berna,” a commander of the AUC with control of the officially demobilized paramilitary group that controlled most drug trafficking in the north of Colombia.
Following Berna’s extradition to the United States in May 2008, a war broke out between the Oficina and the Urabeños, supported by a dissident faction of the Medellin crime syndicate.
The two organizations signed a peace deal last year after homicides in the city dropped spectacularly. Locals have said that extortion rackets have skyrocketed since the two organizations decided to focus on revenue instead of each other.
Medellin authorities have refused to release statistics related to extortion and robberies making it impossible for Colombia Reports to verify these claims.