An alliance between “Los Urabeños” and alias “Valenciano” could be shifting the dynamics of the fierce gang war in the Antioquian capital of Medellin, threatening the dominance of alias “Sebastian,” El Espectador reported Monday.
Ericson Vargas, alias “Sebastian,” who currently controls an estimated 85% of Colombia’s second city, and Maximiliano Bonilla, alias “Valenciano,” were both originally allies in the “Oficina de Envigado” before former boss “Don Berna“‘s extradition to the U.S. sparked a deadly battle for control between the two men’s factions that has continued for around two years.
Where Sebastian primarily focused upon the consolidation of micro-trafficking in the city, Valenciano successfully sought out partnerships with Mexican cartels and directed his business more towards international narco-trafficking. The reported alliance between Valenciano and neo-paramilitary group “Los
Urabeños,” however, estimated to have begun late last year, could signal both a change in tactics and a shift in the balance of the gang war.
The increasing presence of “Los Urabeños” in Medellin has primarily been in the western sectors of the city, specifically Belen, an area which has endured an increase in violence as the war continues to rage. At least 500 people have been killed in Medellin during 2011, allegedly as a consequence of this alliance.
According to a local gangleader consulted by Colombia Reports, the Urabeños are also active in Comuna 13, a neighborhood in the west with strategic importance because of its location near the highway to Urabá.
The most recent high-profile clash between the warring drug lords occurred in April, when 10 people were kidnapped, and ultimately killed, from a holiday home in Sopetran, Antioquia, believed to be an attack by Sebastian on people linked to Valenciano’s faction.
The key man alleged to be the orchestrator between the
Urabeños-Valenciano alliance is alias “Mi Sangre,” another former “Oficina de Envigado” member, although some intelligence sources do not believe the alliance rests on firm foundations.
“‘Mi Sangre’ is a narco-trafficker and although he has alliances with Valenciano, his intention is that they capture him in order to remain with his [trafficking] routes,” said one official, while the Antioquian police commander suggested that
“Los Urabeños” could have been behind the Sopetran attack on Valenciano’s people because “among criminals there is no respect.”
Nevertheless, the Colombian authorities are determined to prevent
“Los Urabeños” gaining a significant foothold of control within the city and stop them fuelling the city’s gang war.
Besides the lucrative international drug trafficking trade, inter-city micro-trafficking brings an estimated $5.6 million (COP 10 billion) on a monthly basis, while territorial control is made even more alluring by the various other sources of income such as the some $2.25 million (COP 4 billion) collected monthly from extorted buses and terminals.