The operation, in the northern Colombian cities of Cartagena and Baranquilla, is the latest in a string of arrests targeting the drug trafficking gang, whose activities span Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. The gang is considered one of the most powerful criminal organisations in Colombia.
“Los Rastrojos,” which according to the organized crime analysis site InSight Crime has agreements with the ELN and FARC guerrilla groups to buy cheap coca paste, has been hit by a series of setbacks recently. In June one of its top commanders, Diego Perez Henao, alias “Rastrojo,” was arrested in Venezuela.
In July authorities arrested Edison Antonio Pelaez, alias “Mincho,” who, according to officials, succeeded Antonio Calle Serna, alias “Comba” as acting boss, following his May surrender to U.S. authorities.
These latest arrests are part of an on-going six-month operation using the combined forces of the Metropolitan, National Drug and Maritime police. Among the detainees is “Pechuga”, alleged leader of the gang in Cali.
The suspects are expected to be charged with aggravated conspiracy, aggravated homicide, illegal possession of firearms, extortion and drug trafficking.