A top commander of neo-paramilitary organization “Los Urabeños” has surrendered himself to authorities, Venezuelan and Colombian authorities said Friday.
The arrest in Venezuela was initially announced by Nestor Reverol, the country’s Justice Minister, on Twitter.
Capturado por Funcionarios de la ONA en Barinas peligroso Jefe Paramilitar de la Banda Criminal “LosUrabeños ”
— Néstor Reverol (@NestorReverol) May 10, 2013
In a tweet of his own, Colombia Police General Jose Roberto Leon confirmed the surrender of Gidardo de Jesus Escalante, alias “Escalante.”
Atención:se sometió a la justicia Gildardo de Jesús Escalante,alias”Escalante”máximo cabecilla de los Urabeños,delinquía Magdalena yGuajira
— General Jose León R(@GeneralJoseLeon) May 10, 2013
Escalante was a member of the “Frente Resistencia Tayrona,” one of the groups that officially demobilized with paramilitary umbrella organization AUC between 2003 and 2006.
However, instead of reintegrating into society, the former paramilitary joined other mid-level commanders and fighters who formed the Urabeños to assume control of the AUC’s drug trafficking activities.
The former paramilitary is said to also be part of the “Anti-Land Restitution Army,” which issued death threats to journalists in the north of Colombia earlier this week.
Police have recently made several arrests in Bogota and the north of Colombia where the Urabeños and the smaller “Giraldo clan” are fighting over control of drug routes that pass through the Sierra Nevada national park.