Authorities in the north of Colombia arrested a mid-level commander of the rapidly expanding neo-paramilitary group the “Urabeños” Monday.
Ricardo Antonio Ramos Loaiza, alias “R8,” is believed to be responsible for the security network protecting Roberto Vargas Gutierrez, alias “Gavilan,” one of the Urabeños’ commanders believed to run the neo-paramilitary organizations in the coastal Cordoba department.
Police told media that Gutierrez, who was arrested in the port city of Turbo, is responsible for calling the “armed strike” which paralyzed much of northern Colombia in early January, in retaliation for the death of previous Urabeños leader “Giovanni” at the hands of Colombian security forces.
The Urabeños are the largest and most powerful of groups formed by members of the AUC at the time the paramilitary organization was officially taking part in a peace process with the Colombian government between 2003 and 2006. The group controls most of Colombia’s Caribbean coast and parts of the country’s second largest city, Medellin.