Rafael Alvarez Piñeda, alias "Chepe," demobilized from the paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) in 2006. He later became a leader of paramilitary successor group the Paisas, before switching sides to work with the rival Urabeños.
Chepe got his start in the Mineros Bloc of the AUC, fighting alongside Cesar Torres, alias "Mono Vides," under the command of Ramiro Vanoy, alias "Cuco," who is now jailed in the United States for drug trafficking.
But Chepe did not stay loyal to his former commander, and reportedly masterminded the kidnapping of four of Cuco Vanoy's sons in December 2008, for which he is said to have collected $25 million in ransom.
Chepe did remain an ally of Mono Vides, also a Paisas commander, even as some sub-lieutenants chose to break away from the group in favor of partnerships with other organizations. However, after Mono Vides was killed by the army in October 2010, Chepe left the Paisas to join the rival Urabeños. He and fellow Paisas boss German Bustos Alarcon, alias "El Puma," were recruited by Urabeños boss Roberto Vargas Gutierrez, alias "Gavilan" -- also a former member of the Mineros Bloc.
As an Urabeños commander, Chepe was believed to work with his former enemies from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group, making business alliances in the interests of drug trafficking.
Chepe's stronghold was in Taraza, in the Bajo Cauca region of Antioquia province, where he allegedly controlled extortion of local businesses and farmers, in addition to controlling the region's drug trafficking routes and moving cocaine for the Urabeños.
Chepe was captured by Colombian police on August 25, 2013 at a ranch in Caceres, also in Bajo Cauca.