A brief history of the Urabeños.
Created by insightcrime on Nov 19, 2010
Last updated: 08/08/12 at 01:39 PM
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A joint operation by Honduran and Colombian authorities led to the arrest of the alleged second-in-command of the Urabeños, Alexander Montoya Usuga, alias “El Flaco.”
16 Urabeños members were captured in connection to the murders of 30 people. The group is also suspected of promoting an armed strike protesting the death of Urabeños leader Juan de Dios Usuga, alias "Giovanni."
Colombian authorities discovered a camp believed to be occupied by the Urabeños, where the police detained two people.
In retaliation for the death of their leader, Juan de Dios Usuga, alias "Giovanni," the Urabeños have reportedly offered nearly $1,000 for each police officer murdered.
The Urabeños imposed a curfew and burned vehicles that did not comply in order to mark the death of their leader, Juan de Dios Usuga, alias "Giovanni," who was killed by Colombian police on a New Year’s Day raid.
Urabeños leader Juan de Dios Usuga, alias "Giovanni," was killed in a police raid on his country home in Colombia.
Colombian police have seized a submarine believed to be owned by the Urabeños. The sub was still under construction at the time of the raid and was estimated to be able to carry up to six tons of drugs.
Colombia’s naval forces intercepted a go-fast boat carrying five alleged Urabeños members and 2.2 tons of cocaine worth an estimated $60 million.
Colombian police arrested 29 Urabeños members, including Jose Joaquin Padilla, alias "Magnifico," the suspected chief financial officer for the Urabeños, as part of a widespread police offensive against the gang known as Operation Roma.
Colombian police captured Rodrigo Antonio Oquendo Urrego, alias "Rigo" or "Uber," who is allegedly a close associate of the leaders the Urabeños gang.
Two biology students from Bogota are killed in San Bernardo de Viento, Cordoba, while collecting plant samples in a rural area. Police say the Urabeños were responsible. The deaths shock Colombia's elite.
Colombian police captured Carlos Evento Higuita Usuga, alias “Chejo,” who is believed to be the military head of the Urabeños. At the time of his arrest in Medellin, Chejo was carrying false identification papers.
34 members of the Urabeños, including “Chuzo,” the head of the Northern Coast Urabeños, were captured in raids throughout the country.
Colombian authorities captured Ovidio de Jesus Cardona Borja, a military leader of the Urabeños who is believed to have participated in the murder of a Colombian army informant.
The two Usuga brothers, former mid-ranking lieutenants under Rendon Herrera's command, take over the organization. Dubbed the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces or the Urabeños, the group has continued its fierce war against rivals the Paisas and the Rastrojos, especially in northern Antioquia.
After a nine month investigation, Colombian security forces arrest Daniel Rendon Herrera in the northwest municipality of Apartado, Antioquia. At the time Colombian authorites offered rewards of up to $2 million for information leading to his capture.
Rendon Herrera recruits hundreds of ex-paramilitaries to help support his drug-trafficking operations in the Uraba gulf. He attempts to expand his criminal network into Cordoba, northern Antioquia and Medellin. But his recruits meet fierce resistance from the Paisas, the armed wing of the notorious Oficina de Envigado.
After months of refusing to sit down with the government, in April Freddy Rendon Herrera enters the demobilization process. The Bloque Elmer Cardenas demobilizes in three phases, with the final phase taking place in August when both Rendon Herrera brothers officially disarm. But after the mysterious disappearance of top AUC commander Vicente Castaño, Daniel Rendon Herrera sees a chance to assume control of the AUC's old drug-smuggling networks in Uraba.
As the war with the ACC intensifies, Miguel Arroyave grows increasingly paranoid of his associates, including Daniel Rendon Herra. After receiving death threats from his old boss, Rendon leaves the Eastern Plains in June. He re-establishes himself in Uraba, where he receives protection from his brother Freddy and the Bloque Elmer Cardenas. Arroyave is killed in September in a murder plotted by his former allies, including Pedro Oliveiro Guerrero, alias ‘Cuchillo.’
The expansion of the Bloque Centauros is hindered by another paramilitary group long based in the Casanare province. The Peasant Self-Defense Forces of Casanare (Autodefensas Campesinas del Casanare – ACC) is led by Héctor Germán Buitrago Parada, alias 'Martin Llanos.' He is among the youngest paramilitary leaders in the country, but his family has traditionally controlled all the extortion payments in Casanare, in return for "protection" from the guerrilla. The ACC and the Bloque Centauros begin an open war that leaves an estimated 3,000 people dead by 2004.
For an asking price of $7 million, Carlos Castaño sells an armed group operating in the Eastern Plains to another paramilitary warlord, Miguel Arroyave. The group is later dubbed Bloque Centauros. Arroyave then contracts Daniel Rendón Herrera, alias 'Don Mario,' to handle the finances of the paramilitary bloc. Rendón, a native of Antioquia, had been working for drug traffickers in the Eastern Plains since 1996.
Reportedly nicknamed "the German" because of his obsession with order and discipline, Freddy Rendón assumes control of a paramilitary group, Bloque Elmer Cárdenas, in the Urabá region. This territory has long attracted the attention of drug traffickers, due to its strategic location between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Years later, Freddy Rendón's brother, Daniel Rendón Herrera, will assume control of this armed group.
Carlos and Vicente Castaño decide to co-opt the drug business from the FARC, in the key territory of the Eastern Plains. On July 14, an armed group of at least 120 paramilitary fighters arrive in Mapiripán, Meta. Over the next several days, they torture and kill 60 people accused of "supporting" the guerrillas. One of the later commanders of the Urabeños, Darío Antonio Úsuga, allegedly participates in the massacre.