The gang members— who were arrested in a rural area of the municipality of Caceres, Antioquia— were charged with numerous crimes, including murder, extortion, the illegal possession of weapons and drug trafficking, local media reported. Besides the arrests, police confiscated an arsenal of weapons, such as an AK-47 assault rifle, three grenades, and several high caliber guns.
Police said they initially captured two members of Los Urabeños, aliases “Cumbamba” and “Worm,” whom they linked to several murders in the area. After questioning the two murder suspects, police intensified their investigation and eventually obtained six search warrants, which led them to 17 other members of the neo-paramilitary group, according to a news release. Charges against the other members include aggravated murder and illegal possession of fire arms.
The Urabeños are one of Colombia‘s largest drug trafficking organizations and the biggest group that emerged from the demobilized paramilitary organization, the AUC. The group is suspected of having at least 2,000 members and is mostly active along Colombia’s Caribbean coast, but has recently made inroads into Medellin and other areas in the northwestern department of Antioquia.