Colombia’s security forces continue to weaken the Clan del Golfo criminal group, striking hard at its financial structure and hunting down its top leaders. Troops from the Colombian Army’s Fourth Brigade and National Police units captured alias El Viejo, Felipe or Sebastián, who served as an alleged military leader of the Clan del Golfo.
The operation, carried out in late March in the village of Murrí, Frontino municipality, in western Antioquia, also led to the capture of alias Chilapo, alias Árabe, and alias Toreto, alleged members of the same group, the Colombian Army said in a statement.
“In this operation of coordinated and planned offensive action, combat ensued with this structure, which allowed the capture of four subjects, among whom we found alias Felipe, or alias el Viejo, a subject with a criminal record of more than 15 years in the group,” Colombian Army Lieutenant Colonel Jhonny Bustos Rivera, commander of the 32nd Infantry Battalion, Pedro Justo Berrio Battalion, told the press. During the operation, authorities also seized 9 mm caliber pistols; cartridges; a submachine gun; and war, communications, and intelligence material, said Lt. Col. Bustos.
Authorities also found cell phones, communication radios, and cash. The seized items, as well as those captured, were brought to the competent authorities for their respective prosecution, the Army said.
“Alias El Viejo, the alleged leader of the del Golfo in western Antioquia, has fallen,” Colombia’s Defense Minister Diego Molano said via Twitter. “A 17-year criminal career comes to an end […]. If you do the crime you do the time.”
Alias El Viejo, who had an Interpol blue notice, was reportedly the second leader of the Erlin Pino Duarte structure, which operates in the departments of Sucre, Bolivar, and Magdalena.
Throughout 2022, and up to April 12, Colombian authorities carried out more than 300 operations against the Clan del Golfo, in which they captured 264 criminals, brought 38 to justice, and neutralized 19 of its members. These results took place in the area of responsibility of the Colombian Army’s Seventh Division, which includes the departments of Antioquia, Córdoba, Chocó, and part of the department of Sucre, according to information the Army’s Seventh Division provided to Diálogo.
Following the capture of Clan del Golfo leader alias Otoniel on October 23, 2021, Colombia’s security forces have been focusing on completely dismantling the criminal group. In early April 2022, Colombia’s Supreme Court approved the extradition to the United States of Alias Otoniel, who is wanted on federal drug trafficking, homicide, and weapons charges.