A senior member of neo-paramilitary group Los Urabeños has been arrested in the north of Colombia, authorities said Sunday.
“Chepe,” a demobilized member of paramilitary group AUC, was arrested in the municipality of Caceres after a firefight with law enforcement agents.
The Urabeños ringleader, responsible for the group’s activities in coca-growing regions in the north of Antioquia and the south of the Cordoba department, was severely injured in the fighting with policemen and transferred to a nearby hospital immediately after his arrest.
“One shot perforated his lung, another his liver,” an anonymous police official told newspaper El Tiempo.
Chepe, whose real name is Rafael Alvarez, has been involved in criminal activities since the late 1990s.
Before joining the Urabeños, the criminal was a member of the AUC, but switched to neo-paramilitary group “Los Paisas” after his paramilitary bloc demobilized in 2006.
The former paramilitary subsequently began claiming property in hands of family members and friends of “Cuco” Vanoy, his former superior who was extradited to the United States in 2008.
As the Paisas disintegrated, Chepe decided to join the rival Urabeños where he increased control over the Bajo Cauca region where his new employers were fighting the Paisas and their allies, “Los Rastrojos.”
The neo-paramilitary commander is wanted for drug trafficking by US authorities and in Colombia is facing charges for conspiracy and the manufacturing and trafficking of drugs.
The arrest of Chepe is the third blow for the Urabeños in the Bajo Cauca region this year. In January, Peruvian Police arrested Chepe’s predecessor “Don Leo” in the capital Lima, while Colombian police arrested Don Leo’s second in command, “Cien,” in the city of Medellin in March.
The Urabeños are arguably the most powerful drug trafficking organization in Colombia with control over most of the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. The organization was formed by former members of the AUC who took over a number of the paramilitary umbrella organization’s criminal activities after its demobilization.
- Contundente golpe a los “Urabeños” en el Bajo Cauca Antioqueño capturado alias “Chepe” National Police
- Capturan a ‘Chepe’, jefe de Urabeños en el bajo cauca de Antioquia (Colprensa)
- Cayó extraditable jefe de ‘los Urabeños’ (El Tiempo)
- Chepe profile (InSight Crime)