Giovannis Waldir Ustariz Martinez alias, “Juan Jose,” was captured in Barranquilla after an order for his arrest was carried out for the crime of conspiracy to commit aggravated homicide. He is alleged to be the regional leader of the neo-paramilitary group “Los Urabeños,” in the departments of Cesar, Magdalena, Atlantico and La Guajira in the north of Colombia.
Director of the Anti-narcotics police General Cesar Augusto Pinzon Arana said, “For his criminal actions in the departments of Cesar, Magdalena, Atlantico and La Guajira, alias ‘Juan Jose’ was the figure in the cartel most wanted in the Caribbean region and they offered $140,000 (250 Million COP) for information leading to his capture.”
Los Urabeños are one of the most tactical and disciplined of the neo-paramilitary and drug trafficking organizations in Colombia. The Caribbean region, heavily contested for valuable drug shipment ports, is the main area of operations for the organization.
Ustariz himself is a former paramilitary. According to reports he was the financial and extortion head of the Martires del Cesar bloc of the AUC. After demobilizing, Juan Jose is said to be one of the many who rearmed with a focus on narcotics trafficking.