Colombia’s defense minister announced another blow to criminal gang the Rastrojos after an operation in the north of the country.
According to a statement by Juan Carlos Pinzon, national police confiscated 55 guns, supplies and large amounts of ammunition, valued at over $90,000, in the department of Norte de Santander, located along the Venezuelan border.
“This is a department in which there are many important challenges so we’re going to give the signal (…) that we are very interested in working to improve the safety of the inhabitants of this region,” reiterated Pinzon.
Pinzon welcomed the support of the region’s residents, who he said provided security forces with the necessary information to dismantle the weapons cache.
Colombian authorities have dealt a series of damaging blows to the Pacific-based Rastrojos in recent months. In early July, police arrested Edison Antonio Pelaez, alias “Mincho,” who, according to officials, served as the acting boss of the Rastrojos after the surrender of Javier Antonio Calle Serna, alias “Comba,” to U.S. authorities in May.
The suspected leader of the group’s assassination squad, Carlos Hugo Garcia, alias “Chocolate,” was extradited to the U.S. Thursday after his 2011 capture, to face charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.
Minister Pinzon claimed that 183 criminal gang members had been captured in Norte de Santander so far this year, more than double the total over the same period in 2011.