A ex-paramilitary leader who keeps a low profile is now leader of the vicious “Uraba” gang, which has been terrorizing northeastern Antioqua.
Although his name is not well known amongst the public, police say Arboleda Jorge Ivan Garces, aka “Arboleda,” is now one of the most wanted criminals in Antioqua, with a reward of 50 million pesos (about $25,000) for information leading to his capture, El Colombia newspaper reported Monday.
Demobilized paramilitaries who know Garces described him as “bloodthirsty,” and police say he is now waging a “war of blood and fire” against the “Los Rastrojos” gang for control of coca growing areas and drug trafficking routes in Northeast Antioqua.
Police have attributed about 90 murders to Garces and say his criminal organization is responsible for displacement of people in the towns of Segovia and Remedios.
Garces is not unknown to the authorities.
“He has military training as a soldier, and after leaving the Army he joined the AUC Metro bloc, then commanded under the alias “Double Zero,” one police investigator told El Colombiano.
Some ex-paramilitaries say Garces participated in several massacres, including one in Yolombo. Police believe he also murdered several demobilized paramilitaries and since his time with the AUC has been involved in power struggles to arrive where is today as one of the most wanted men in the region.
In recent months, authorities captured several members of the Uraba gang led by “Arboleda.” They have also seized guns and destroyed drug labs in the Northeast.
Police estimated that the former paramilitary leads a group of about 60 men.