Significant Drug Gang Arrest in Colombia

Via the BBC,  Colombia: Rastrojos members held in Barranquilla raid:

Colombian police have arrested 46 members of the Rastrojos criminal gang in northern Atlantico department.

They are accused of extortion from shop owners and selling illegal drugs in the coastal city of Barranquilla.

President Juan Manuel Santos described the operation as "the biggest blow against Colombian criminal organisations in a decade".

The US says the Rastrojos have smuggled at least 30 tonnes of cocaine into Mexico since 2008.

Some of the criminal organisation’s leaders in the area were detained in the raid, which happened on Friday but was announced later by President Santos.

Among those arrested are Bonangel Madel Nunez, known as La Negra, and Oscar Junior Navarro, alias El Mello.

For some time now the term “cartel” has been in lesser use in Colombia (if anything because of the diminished size and scope of the organizations that currently operate) but instead it more typical to hear of “bandas criminales” (criminal bands/gangs) or just “bacrim.”

One would think that this would be politically useful to the Santos administration since the issue of security is a major one in the current presidential campaign.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. James Pearce says:

    They are accused of extortion from shop owners

    There’s a fairly recent documentary about a completely different subject* called The Act of Killing that shows this kind of thing in action. It’s bone-chilling.

    * Indonesian death squads