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Colombia News

Massive Colombia Cocaine Seizure Shows Signs of Underworld Shake-Up

Massive Colombia Cocaine Seizure Shows Signs of Underworld Shake-Up

Colombia's largest cocaine seizure in over a decade is a blow to the Urabeños criminal group and illustrates the impact of the government's crackdown on the group, which is being carried out in the Urabeños' traditional stronghold and could have ripple effects throughout Colombia's criminal landscape.

Colombia Profile

Colombia

Colombia

After over half a century of civil war and the rise and fall of drug trafficking empires, Colombia has made huge strides in improving its security situation in recent years. However, it remains beset by guerrilla rebels and criminal networks, and the Colombian underworld is a potent mix of ideological organizations and their remnants and organized crime where the boundaries between war and crime are fluid. These armed groups and criminal networks are involved in an extensive range of activities including drug production and trafficking, arms trafficking, money laundering, extortion and illegal mining. 

More Colombia News

  • Colombia's Largest-Ever Manhunt Hasn't Caught Its Top Target. Here's Why.

    Operation Agamemnon has entered its second phase

    Colombia's dense jungle on the Caribbean coast is the heartland of the Urabeños, one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the Americas. This is where its top leaders are hiding, and it is also where the government is rebooting its largest-ever police operation to try, once again, to force them out. But so far the massive effort has failed to achieve its main objective: capturing Colombia's most wanted criminal suspect.

  • Can Hip Hop Help Stop Gang Violence in Latin America?

    Young rappers at the Casa Morada hip hop project in Colombia

    Hip hop culture has long been associated with gangs, violence and vandalism. But a wide range of actors in Latin America are attempting to work past longstanding biases and challenges to experiment with these art forms as alternatives for at-risk youths who might otherwise engage in criminal activity.

  • Inside Colombia's Multimillion-Dollar Black Market Explosives Trade

    An Indugel explosives seizure

    Colombia's flourishing illegal gold mining business requires explosives, many of which are sourced illicitly. This essential yet overlooked trade has opened the door for powerful criminal bosses to forge a lucrative black market that involves a large cast of characters, including assassins, legal mining companies and even the Colombian army.

  • Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

    The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges of a post-conflict Colombia more evident, and perhaps no other part of the world is more indicative of how an economy can be fueled by the production and trafficking of cocaine. With villages that are dependent on the transformation of coca leaf into base paste, a port that connects local and international criminal actors, and rivers that serve as unguarded transportation routes for coca going north, Nariño truly is at the heart of everything.  

  • Weekly InSight: Latin America's Prison Dilemma

    This week's Facebook Live stream tackled prisons

    In our June 1 Facebook Live, co-directors Steven Dudley and Jeremy McDermott spoke about InSight Crime’s special investigation of prisons and their often overlooked impact on organized crime in the region.

  • FARC Demobilization Faces Challenges Separating Narcos from Guerrillas

    Gildardo Rodríguez Herrera

    Authorities in Colombia have denied a drug trafficker's attempts to pass himself off as a demobilizing FARC guerrilla, but released a guerrilla wanted for drug trafficking in the United States. The contrasting cases highlight the difficulties Colombia faces in legally untangling the drug trade from the conflict, a process that if not handled carefully will provide ammunition to those seeking to undermine the peace process.

  • How Panama’s Criminal Landscape Has Changed Since the Days of Narco-Dictator Noriega

    Panama's Manuel Noriega jailed in the United States

    Deceased Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was said to have turned his country into one of the most emblematic examples of a "narco-state" in Latin American history, and his dealings with Colombia's biggest drug bosses laid the groundwork for Panama's role in the global drug trade for decades after his 1989 arrest by US troops. We explore why Panama remains a drug trafficking haven for the successors of the Colombian criminals that Noriega helped make rich.

  • Should Mexico Follow Colombia's Example in Combating Fuel Theft?

    Pemex engineers repairing a pipeline in Mexico

    Colombia's finance minister said Mexico should look to the South American country as an example to follow in the fight against fuel theft, but the statement raises questions about how successful Colombia's approach to the issue has really been.

  • What Can Bolivia Teach Post-Conflict Colombia about Coca Reduction?

    Coca eradicators in Bolivia

    A new report by an advocacy group based in Bolivia details how the Andean nation's failed experiences with forced coca eradication can be used as a lesson for Colombia, which is witnessing a surge in cocaine production amid the implementation of a peace deal with the FARC rebel group.  

  • Drug Seizures in Tumaco Make the 'Pacific Pearl' Colombia’s Cocaine Capital

    Tumaco is Colombia's top cocaine producer

    A huge percentage of Colombia's soaring cocaine production has apparently passed through a single municipality, Tumaco, over the first few months of year. What makes this region so strategic, and who has the biggest stake in its criminal bounty?

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InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

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Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

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Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

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InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

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Counting Firearms in Honduras

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Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

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Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...