Urabeños Gang Offers $1,000 Reward to Murder Colombian Police

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The Urabeños drug gang, whose leader was killed in a raid on January 1, have reportedly launched a plan to attack the security forces by offering $1,000 for each police officer murdered.

The authorities warned that the group had declared a campaign against the police in retaliation for the death of leader Juan de Dios Usuga, alias “Giovanni” in a raid on his ranch in Choco. The drive, called “Plan Pistola” or the gun plan, would offer a reward of 2 million pesos (around $1,000) for each police officer to be killed in the province of Antioquia, where the group is powerful.

The Antioquian force are on high alert following the threats, but police General Jose David Guzman played them down, saying that he did not believe that the group would try to launch a direct assault against the state in the style of druglord Pablo Escobar, who died in 1993. (See El Espectador’s video report below).

InSight Crime Analysis

The Urabeños’ imposition of a ban on transport and commerce in certain regions of the country after Usuga’s death showed the group’s power and ability to exert social control over the populace. As InSight Crime argued, this, along with their adoption of a paramilitary-style name, demonstrates that the group are more than just a drug gang, and have ambitions to assert themselves as an organization with an ideology and a social program.

If the group are now offering rewards for those who kill police officers, it would confirm this theory and suggest that they are launching a war against the state, in the style of a rebel group like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Plan Pistola does not represent a change from the Urabeños’ normal way of working, as the group’s founder, Daniel Rendon Herrera, alias “Don Mario,” made the same threats against the Antioquian police in 2009, offering 2 million pesos for each officer killed. This type of threat harks back to the years when Pablo Escobar dominated the country’s drug trade from his hometown of Medellin, Antioquia’s capital, and offered rewards to anyone who killed a police officer. Some 600 officers are thought to have died through this policy, but the improved security in the province means that the latest threats are unlikely to have anything like the same impact.

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