Colombia’s Ministry of Defense, led by Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas, revealed a new plan this Thursday to bring the criminal organization “Clan del Golfo” to justice. This plan is the second phase of operation “Agamenón 2”, an operation created through an executive presidential order by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
The Clan del Golfo, also known locally as Los Urabeños, is a dangerous paramilitary criminal organization that operates throughout Colombia and particularly on the pacific coast and the state of Antioquia. The group has more than 1,200 members at the top of their command alone, in addition to local street gangs who often act as enforcers and drug runners. Their numbers have been steadily dropping, down from 4,000 members just 7 years ago.
Villegas’ plan is to create a joint task force between the Colombian military and local police officers. This joint group will be under the command of the General of the National Police, Jorge Luis Vargas.
The Department of Defense claims to have already achieved some successes, with more than 1,360 members of Clan del Golfo captured, over 100 tons of cocaine seized and more than 300 hectares of coca cultivations eradicated.
Clan del Golfo and the Peace Agreement
While Colombia’s landmark accord with the FARC has often been referred to as a “referendum on peace” among political parties on the left, the FARC in fact represent only one of many criminal and terrorist groups operating within Colombia’s borders. The conflict continues with FARC dissidents, the ELN, Clan del Golfo, and more than 15 other known criminal groups in the country.