• Connect with us on Linkedin

farc banner4

Once again the possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is being dangled before Colombia. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the peace process are high.


Gavilan

Roberto Vargas Gutierrez, alias “Gavilan,” has transformed himself from Maoist guerrilla to

Linkedin
Google +

paramilitary fighter to top leader of the Urabeños.  He has turned himself in to authorities twice, only to return to criminal life, each time a little higher up in the underworld.

Gavilan began his criminal career with the leftist rebel group the Popular Liberation Army (EPL). He demobilized in 1991, but took up arms again in the mid-1990s joining up with newly formed paramilitaries in the Uraba region. His name first came to the attention of police in 1995 when he was identified as leading a group of 100 fighters under the command of paramilitary warlord Salvatore Mancuso in San Pedro de Uraba.

Gavilan went on to join the Mineros Bloc of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a force of some 2,800 fighters led by Ramiro “Cuco” Vanoy that operated principally in the Bajo Cauca area bordering Cordoba province in the north.

In January 2005, Gavilan demobilized during the Santa Fe de Ralito negotiations in Cordoba. However, some six months later the Usuga brothers, Juan de Dios, alias “Giovanni,” and Dario, alias “Otoniel,” former EPL and AUC colleagues, invited him to join them in the Urabeños

Since 2005, Gavilan has risen to become one of the top commanders of the Urabeños, controlling their operations in the key province of Cordoba. He is thought to have been instrumental in recruiting leading members of the rival Paisas gang to join the Urabeños, including Rafael Alvarez Piñeda, alias "Chepe," and German Bustos Alarcon, alias "El Puma.” Both were also former members of the AUC's Mineros Bloc.

The US Treasury Department added Gavilan to their list of Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers in March 2010. The Colombian government is currently offering a reward of 1 billion Colombian pesos (over $500,000) for information leading to his arrest.

Resources

“Treasury Designates Key Associates of Colombian Drug Lord Daniel Rendon Herrera as Narcotics Traffickers,” US Treasury Department, March 18, 2012

“Quien es alias Gavilan?” Caracol Radio, January 14, 2011

“Mancuso Sigue Guardandose Secretos,” Verdad Abierta, June 26, 2012

Linkedin
Google +

---

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We also encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, provided that it is attributed to InSight Crime in the byline, with a link to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

InSight Crime Search

The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas

InSight Crime Social

facebooktwittergooglelinkedin

Country Page - Colombia

ColombiaCountry Profile
Colombia
See latest news and analysis of Colombia, its biggest criminal groups and most notorious kingpins.
Go to Page ...

Most Read

2 Divergent Views on El Salvador Gang Truce, 1 Sad Conclusion

2 Divergent Views on El Salvador Gang Truce, 1 Sad Conclusion

Two wildly divergent views of what is happening with the truce between El Salvador's two foremost gangs converge in one important way: they both paint a bleak picture for the near future of the fragile...

Read more

Uncertainty Swirls Around Mexico Vigilantes Disarmament 'Agreement'

Uncertainty Swirls Around Mexico Vigilantes Disarmament 'Agreement'

A vigilante leader in Mexico's Michoacan state has promised the groups will disarm by May 10, but details about what their agreement with the government entails are hazy, and it remains to be seen whether...

Read more

Ecuador Car Theft Rings Fuel Billion Dollar Transnational Trade

Ecuador Car Theft Rings Fuel Billion Dollar Transnational Trade

In 2013, Ecuador lost around $22 million and over 7,000 vehicles to car theft, a lucrative international trade that connects street level thieves to transnational organized crime groups.

Read more