Cuchillo began his criminal career working with Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha, alias "El Mejicano," a leader of the Medellin Cartel who financed numerous paramilitary groups in the 1980s before being killed in a 1989 shootout with Colombian police.
Cuchillo later became a commander in the Centauros Bloc, an arm of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia - AUC) that operated in the Eastern Plains. In addition to fighting the guerrillas, the Centauros had a major role in trafficking drugs in the region.
Following a dispute, Cuchillo and several others ambushed and killed their commander Jose Miguel Arroyave in 2004. Cuchillo demobilized as part of a peace process between the government and the AUC in 2006, but took up arms again not long after, renaming his group Heroes de Vichada, and later the ERPAC.
Cuchillo died when police raided a ranch where he was celebrating on Christmas Eve 2010, drowning in a river, drunk, as he tried to escape.
- "'Cuchillo,' Pedro Oliveiro Guerrero," Verdad Abierta, 29 December 2008.