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The Ghost Loses Drug Trafficking Partners

After the demobilization of the AUC in 2006, the paramilitary high command was behind bars. All except alias “Sebastían Colmenares” and his alter ego, “Memo...
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The Ghost and His Paramilitary Army

In 1997, the paramilitary army began its bloody campaign across Colombia, supposedly to fight the Marxist rebels, but really to take control of the cocaine trade....
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Hunting the Ghost: a Face and a Name

The hunt for “Will the Ghost,” or “Memo Fantasma” had stalled once again. The name Guillermo Camacho did not register with anyone. Had The Ghost managed to...
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‘The Invisibles’ of the Drug World

Drug traffickers today have realized that their best protection is not a private army, but rather total anonymity. We call these drug lords "the invisibles." This...
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The Women Who Want to Leave Coca Behind in Colombia’s Putumayo

In Putumayo, as in much of Colombia, female coca growers face a difficult choice: obey armed groups and continue working in illegal economies, or put themselves at...
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From Cocalero to Kingpin: New Book Tracks Cocaine Supply Chain

A new book by a veteran reporter provides a comprehensive picture of Colombia’s modern-day cocaine trafficking networks and their devastating impact on the...
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Coronavirus Lays Bare Faultlines of Latin American Prisons

Fears of contagion amid the coronavirus pandemic have spurred deadly riots, mass breakouts, and crackdowns in several Latin American prisons, exposing how long-term...
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Ex-FARC Mafia Drives Park Rangers Out of Colombia’s Amazon

After receiving threats, park rangers in Colombia have abandoned areas of the Amazon that they were protecting. Now these territories could fall increasingly under...
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Colombia Observatory Report Demystifies Role of Women in Organized Crime

New studies are seeking to address the complex and rapidly evolving roles that women play in criminal structures, which have sometimes gone underreported or been...