Forty people linked to the neo-paramilitary drug trafficking group “Los Urabeños” have been captured by Colombian authorities in collaboration with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), said Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera.
The arrests took place 10 different departments across Colombia and those detained include Mario de Jesus Jimenez Gomez, alias “El Chuzo.” He was wanted for manufacturing, trafficking and transporting drugs.
The ring has members in Venezuela, according to Colombian officials. “It was an international organization dedicated to drug trafficking along the Colombia-Venezuela-U.S. corridor,” said Rivera.
Los Urabeños allegedly has a route in the northern department of Meta which they use to transport drugs to the United States, and it is expected that some of those arrested will be wanted for extradition to the U.S.
“Los Urabeños” is defined by Human Rights Watch as a “paramilitary successor group,” with close links to members of the demobilized paramilitary coalition AUC. Until his arrest in April 2009, it was led by Daniel Rendon, alias “Don Mario,” one of Colombia’s three most wanted men at the time. Don Mario was a leader of the AUC who did not demobilize with the organization.
The person most recently thought to lead the group, alias “El Flaco,” was arrested by authorities on September 27.