In late September, Colombian Minister of Defense Diego Molano announced the capture of 41 members of the criminal organization Clan del Golfo, in the southwestern part of Antioquia department. Among those captured is alias El Zurdo, who as leader of the Jairo de Jesús Durango substructure was responsible for supervising the purchase and entry of firearms from Panama into Colombia.
This result came about through five operations, in which the National Police carried out 44 raids, in coordination with the Military Forces, the Office of the Attorney General, and police support from the French Embassy in Colombia.
“We continue [fighting] relentlessly and on the offensive against the Clan del Golfo,” Minister Molano told the press. “The leader alias El Zurdo, along with these 40 other criminals, was part of a group that was sowing terror and crime in Antioquia.”
Alias El Zurdo began his criminal career as a hit man at the age of 16, under the orders of alias Siopas, the Clan del Golfo’s second-in-command, and Colombian authorities considered him a high-value target. He was one of the criminal organization’s most wanted in Antioquia, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement. El Zurdo had arrest warrants for the crimes of aggravated homicide; manufacture, trafficking, carrying, or possession of firearms, accessories, parts, or ammunition; conspiracy to commit aggravated crime; and trafficking, manufacture, or possession of narcotics.
“Alias El Zurdo, for example, was responsible for the murder of two gas operators in Betulia,” Molano added. “In Urrao, he also had attacked three young people, including a young woman who was holding a child in her arms.”
The international investigative organization InSight Crime, which specializes in organized crime in Latin America, describes the Clan del Golfo as the dominant criminal force in Colombia, with a presence in at least 17 departments, as well as an international presence, and with alliances with narcotrafficking groups in Mexico, such as the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas. Jairo de Jesús Durango is one of the criminal group’s five most prominent substructures, the investigative organization said.
“The Clan del Golfo continues to be one of the axis of evil in the country, but especially in Antioquia,” Molano said. “That is why we make an effort to continue defending Antioquia, to continue defending young people, and ensuring [that we] restore peace and security […] in Antioquia.”