Colombia Captures 181 Clan del Golfo Members

Colombia Captures 181 Clan del Golfo Members

By Yolima Dussán/Diálogo
March 08, 2021

On January 4, 2021, the Colombian National Police reported the results of a macro-operation against the criminal group Clan del Golfo, carried out between December 30, 2020, and January 2, 2021, which led to the capture of 181 people. Operation Agamemnon, which consisted of three simultaneous operations, was carried out in 17 departments of the country.

Colombian National Police Major General Fernando Murillo Orrego, head of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Interpol (DIJIN, in Spanish), reported that this operation “took place with more than 3,000 Army, Navy, and Air Force service members, and more than 1,000 Police elements.” He said that in the ongoing operation, “the priority is to capture alias Otoniel, the [Clan del Golfo’s] top leader, for whom the U.S. government is offering a reward of up to $5 million.” He added that the Colombian government is offering $860,000 for information leading to his arrest.

“This deployment impacted all the criminal groups that are part of the Clan del Golfo,” the Colombian Presidency posted on its website. “The mission was structured in 38 operations with 117 search procedures and raids, which resulted in 177 arrests and four neutralizations.”

The Colombian Office of the Attorney General supported the operation with about 30 prosecutors specializing in the fight against organized crime, the extinction of property rights, money laundering, and narcotrafficking, the National Police said in a statement.

Authorities made important arrests, such as John Fredy Zapata Garzón, alias Messi or Candado, and seven of his closest collaborators. “Zapata Garzón ran a narcotrafficking and money laundering organization associated with the Clan del Golfo,” Maj. Gen. Murillo added.

The DIJIN stated that Zapata Garzón shared routes for drug trafficking to Europe and the United States with the Clan del Golfo, through shell companies, investments, and real estate and personal properties in the above-mentioned departments.

On December 4, 2020, the U.S. Treasury Department singled out Zapata Garzón “for materially assisting the international narcotics trafficking activities of the Clan del Golfo.”