The Colombian Military Forces’ operations against the Clan del Golfo, Colombia’s largest organized armed group, continue to yield positive results. Among their latest accomplishments is the capture of Gustavo Adolfo Gregorio de Jesús Gómez Rodríguez, alias Arcángel, el Gali, or el Compadre, the main leader of the Clan del Golfo’s North Caribbean column.
The mid-July operation was carried out with the support of the Attorney General’s Office in the city of Barranquilla, Atlántico department, after a year and a half of military intelligence work. Along with alias Arcángel, authorities captured alias la Viuda, alias Nicolás, and alias el Rolo, who are believed to be the group’scoordinators for narcotrafficking and micro-trafficking routes in the region, the Colombian Army said.
“The capture [of alias Arcángel], along with four others, is very important because it neutralizes their intentions to control the main narcotrafficking routes to the north of the country, as well as the criminal sales they intend to make in our cities and municipalities,” Colombian Army Major General Gerardo Melo Barrera, commander of the First Division, told the press.
Alias Arcángel, 53, had been part of the Clan del Golfo since 2012, and was allegedly carrying out selective killings, extortions, and managing narcotrafficking routes abroad and in the departments of Magdalena, Atlántico, and La Guajira, the Colombian Army said in a statement. As the head of finances, he was responsiblefor the group’s illicit revenues, making him the criminal group’s main leader in the North Caribbean region, the Colombian Army’s Second Brigade told Diálogo.
For her part, alias La Viuda was in charge of coordinating the sale of drugs in universities of Barranquilla and was the liaison with foreign criminal organizations to send drugs abroad.
The operation to capture alias Arcángel was carried out as part of the Condor Military and Police Campaign, launched in late 2021 against the Clan del Golfo. So far during this campaign, authorities have captured 791 persons and neutralized 45, carried out 400 raids, and seized 1858 properties, according to information the National Police’s Directorate of Criminal Investigation and INTERPOL (DIJIN)provided to Diálogo. Under this campaign, authorities also seized 46 grenades, 292 weapons, 488 cell phones,and $613,700 in pesos, as well asdestroyed two laboratories, in 402 operations.
“This year we have already had more than 25 extraditions [of Clan del Golfomembers], but if we talk about the last four years, more than 300 extraditions have taken place,” General Fernando Murillo, director of the National Police’s DIJIN, said July 27 on Colombian TV program Pregunta Yamid. “All these results are what led this organization to establish that they would start to attack security forces, but it is not just the Clan del Golfo; they are outsourcing with common criminals, with urban criminals who are also the ones causing this.”
In retaliation against security forces and their operations, the Clan del Golfolaunched a so-called plan pistola (pistol plan), a strategy to assassinate security forces’ members, killing 36 officers so far this year. “This is a terrorist plan of these criminals, not only against the Public Force, but also against the community.That’s why we are facing this situation today, going out on patrol, with all the risks that exist, carrying out greater intelligence, greater criminal investigation, and attending to the community,” Gen. Murillo said.