Police nab key lieutenants of the infamous Urabeños criminal group in coordinated operation
Nine members of the notorious Urabeños criminal band were arrested in a police raid on September 7 – an operation that nabbed César Daniel Anaya and other key lieutenants in the group, local media reported.
Anaya is said to be the right-hand man of Urabeños leader Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, alias ‘Otoniel.’
Also in custody is José Ignacio Tafur, alias ‘El Adoptado’. Tafur was said to be in charge of protecting and hiding his boss ‘Otoniel’ when required, according to reports.
Despite capturing nine members of the group, the police failed in their ultimate goal – to find the notorious Urabeños leader himself.
Police believe the criminal leader moves hiding places every week to evade capture.
According to local media, the most recent raids are part of a “purge” of the group, with police said to be acting on the testimony of demobilised paramilitary commander Freddy Rendon, alias ‘El Aleman’.
On August 28, 32 local politicians were arrested and accused of having ties to the Urabeños. Those arrested included ex-town councillors, civic leaders, former Senate candidates, and William Palacio Valencia, the mayor of the port town of Turbo.
A source for the prosecution said a total of 50 arrest warrants had been issued.
The Urabeños are the only remaining ‘Bacrim’ – which is short for ‘criminal bands’ in Spanish – with a nationwide presence, according to Colombian authorities.
Statistics suggest Urabeños membership to be as high as 2,300, making them bigger than Colombia’s second-largest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN).
Bacrims came into being with the demobilisation of the paramilitaries during the administration of ex-president Alvaro Uribe, between 2003 and 2006.
As the paramilitaries officially demobilised, mid-level commanders and fighters went on to form ideologically-indifferent criminal networks that participate in drug trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and other crimes.