Colombia’s Private Killers
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. A new report examines the relationship between private businesses and paramilitary groups during Colombia’s decades-long armed conflict, arguing that a post-conflict truth commission should investigate these potentially criminal dealings. The report, published on Feb. 26 by Colombian think tank Dejusticia, details 439 instances... Read more
Colombia’s Least-Known But Most-Wanted Public Enemy No. 1
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. Ex-FARC commander “Gentil Duarte” has risen to the top of Colombia’s most-wanted list, but the relatively unknown figure turned public enemy number one may be a less significant threat than the hefty price on his head suggests. The Colombian government has named... Read more
Fresh Armed Groups Exploit Colombia’s Violent Border With Venezuela
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. Venezuela’s continued spiral into economic, political and social crisis and the demobilization of Colombia’s largest guerrilla group have shifted criminal dynamics on the Colombia-Venezuela border, transforming the region into one of the most important organized crime hubs in Latin America. The Colombia-Venezuela border region... Read more
Colombian Traffickers, Targeting Europe, Smuggle Cocaine Decorated With Pics of Putin
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. Major cocaine seizures in Spain, Portugal and Ecuador illustrate the European cocaine pipeline that has become a central part of the operations of Colombian drug traffickers, and could represent lucrative new opportunities for them to move further up the drug supply chain.... Read more
Dissident FARC Rebels Are Stirring Up Trouble
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. The Colombian government has released estimates indicating that only a small percentage of former FARC guerrillas have abandoned the peace process. But InSight Crime field research indicates that the actual number of dissidents is much higher, and could be growing due to issues related... Read more
Colombia’s Biggest Organized Crime Group Is Hurting
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. The most wanted drug trafficker in Colombia and leader of the powerful Urabeños has offered to surrender himself and his organization to authorities just days after his number two was killed by security forces. However, it is unlikely that the dispersed, decentralized criminal group will be... Read more
Tracking the FARC Rebels’ Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Assets
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. Colombia’s demobilized FARC have finally revealed their official list of assets — worth hundreds of millions of dollars — but the country’s top prosecutor has already lambasted the “useless” inventory, which likely comes up far short in its accounting of the former guerrillas’ true... Read more
Ecuador’s Alleged ‘Pablo Escobar’ Went From Boatman to Drug Lord
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. New details have emerged on the largely unknown operations of a recently-captured Ecuadorean drug trafficker, shedding light on the crucial, and often overlooked, role that Ecuador plays in the international drug trade. On April 11, Colombian authorities arrested Washington Prado Álava, alias “Gerard”... Read more
In Colombia’s Coca Corridor, Gangsters Fight for Power
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. The ELN has denied responsibility for the killing of five civilians in the Colombian department of Chocó. The latest violence shows the zone’s valuable strategic position and highly lucrative criminal economies are worth fighting over by criminal groups following the demobilization of the... Read more
Former FARC Fighters Make For Hot New Hires
In 2016, Colombia’s FARC guerrilla army — which had waged the world’s longest-running insurgency — officially agreed to cease hostilities with the Colombian government and demobilize. But not all members of the group accepted the agreement. There have been bloody clashes between rival factions and competition for lucrative criminal enterprises, including drug trafficking... Read more

Kevin Knodell

Contributing Editor

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