Title

The Urabeños After Otoniel - What Becomes of Colombia's Largest Criminal Threat?

Author Information

Sara Garcia, InSight Crime

Date of Publication

2021 12:00 AM

Security Theme

Transnational Organized Crime

Keywords

Organized Crime, Columbia, criminal activities, AGC, coca production, geopolitics, localized control

Description

The Urabeños are considered one of Colombia's principal criminal threats. Yet, after the arrest of their long-time leader, Otoniel, President Iván Duque said the drug gang's "days were numbered." Is that accurate? The fall of Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias “Otoniel,” on October 23 had long been predicted. He had spent years on the run, moving constantly with a small group of close allies and guards around rural parts of the northern departments of Antioquia and Córdoba. His clandestine movements, though, meant the Urabeños – also referred to by the government as the Gulf Clan (Clan del Golfo) and by themselves as the Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia – AGC) – had ample time without his physical presence. Despite longstanding military operations against the group, the Urabeños continue to control vast areas of coca production and move tons of cocaine abroad. The group is also involved in human smuggling, extortion and illegal mining. What's more, the Urabeños retain a unique structure, which has also allowed them to spread geographically, despite repeated arrests and deaths within the group. Therefore, Otoniel's arrest does not necessarily signal the group's death knell. Here, InSight Crime presents a full overview of the Urabeños’ current status in Colombia, the group’s internal structure, main areas of control and criminal influence, as well as future prospects.

Share

 
COinS
 
Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

The Urabeños After Otoniel - What Becomes of Colombia's Largest Criminal Threat?

The Urabeños are considered one of Colombia's principal criminal threats. Yet, after the arrest of their long-time leader, Otoniel, President Iván Duque said the drug gang's "days were numbered." Is that accurate? The fall of Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias “Otoniel,” on October 23 had long been predicted. He had spent years on the run, moving constantly with a small group of close allies and guards around rural parts of the northern departments of Antioquia and Córdoba. His clandestine movements, though, meant the Urabeños – also referred to by the government as the Gulf Clan (Clan del Golfo) and by themselves as the Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia – AGC) – had ample time without his physical presence. Despite longstanding military operations against the group, the Urabeños continue to control vast areas of coca production and move tons of cocaine abroad. The group is also involved in human smuggling, extortion and illegal mining. What's more, the Urabeños retain a unique structure, which has also allowed them to spread geographically, despite repeated arrests and deaths within the group. Therefore, Otoniel's arrest does not necessarily signal the group's death knell. Here, InSight Crime presents a full overview of the Urabeños’ current status in Colombia, the group’s internal structure, main areas of control and criminal influence, as well as future prospects.