Capturamos a alias “Sebastián” en Antioquia, el jefe de la oficina de Envigado cayó a manos de la Dijin esta madrugada
— Policía de Colombia (@PoliciaColombia) August 8, 2012
According to local media, Sebastian was arrested in Copacabana, a town just outside Medellin. Other media reported the neo-paramilitary leader was arrested within the boundaries of Colombia’s second-largest city.
Police said one of Sebastian’s bodyguards was killed when police stormed his hideout at 6AM Wednesday morning.
According to authorities, Sebastian would be transferred to Colombia’s capital Bogota sometime during the day.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos praised the arrest as a “super-blow” against organized crime and promised a “gold medal to the police” for the capture.
Salto triple contra esa organización criminal y medalla de oro para la Policía por la captura de alias Sebastian.
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) August 8, 2012
According to Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said Sebastian was “one of the most important capos in Colombia of recent years.”
The 38-year-old Erick Vargas Cardona, alias Sebastian, began his criminal career in the 1990s when he became a low-ranked member of Oficina de Envigado, the military wing of Pablo Escobar’s Medellin cartel. The cartel member joined his superior “Don Berna” in the Pepes, a vigilante group that had turned against Escobar and his cartel together with Colombian security forces.
After the death of Escobar, Don Berna took over the Oficina and integrated Escobar’s army into his paramilitary “Cacique Nutibara Block” that assumed Escobar’s control of the Medellin underworld and part of the late capo’s drug trafficking routes.
Sebastian became top commander of the crime syndicate in 2008 following the extradition of Don Berna and a successful war with fellow-Oficina commander “Valenciano” who was arrested in Venezuela in 2011.
The Oficina de Envigado is considered one of the most powerful criminal organizations in Colombia. It controls most of the drug trade and extortion in Medellin.