Colombian authorities have captured one of the leaders of the country’s largest neo-paramilitary organization, “Los Urabeños”, reported local media Thursday.
Jose Gregorio Martinez Cabana, alias “El Gato,” was charge of the organization’s finances and one of the twenty most wanted criminals in the northern department of Magdalena. He was captured in central Colombia Wednesday.
According to criminal investigations, Cabana is suspected of conspiracy, extortion and aggravated homicide in Santa Marta, Magdalena’s largest city, and the municipality of Cienaga, on the Caribbean coast in the south of the department.
“El Gato” is allegedly responsible for an attack against five people in Santa Marta early last month as well as the assassination of two people in the Cienaga in March 2011.
Cabana was arrested in the municipality of Flanders in the Tolima department in an operation carried out by the National Police.
“He was extorting large sections of Santa Marta and Cienaga. [He] has been on the run throughout the country for the past two months following police investigations [of these attacks] and yesterday we caught him,” said General Humberto Guatibonza, the director of the National Police’s Anti-kidnapping and Extortion Unit.
He added that businesses and shopping centers had made almost 100 complaints of extortion against him Cabana.
‘Los Urabeños‘ are the largest and one of the most prominent gangs formed by members of the AUC after the organization demobilized in 2006. The group controls most of Colombia’s Caribbean coast and parts of Medellin, the country’s second largest city.