Operation Troy Leads to 20 Arrests of Members of Criminal Gangs in February

By Dialogo
February 23, 2011

In fulfillment of the state’s comprehensive offensive against criminal gangs, the National Police, in coordination with the Attorney-General’s Office and the Armed Forces, arrested ninety-five members of those structures during the second week of February, twenty of whom were detained in the department of Córdoba, as part of Operation Troy, launched by Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera Salazar on 5 February.

Most noteworthy are the arrests of Víctor Hinestrosa Mena, alias ‘Blanquito’ [‘Little White One’], Cristian David Bravo Núñez, alias ‘Cristian,’ and Rafael Antonio Grandeth Serpa, alias ‘El Flaco’ [‘The Thin One’], linked to the investigation into the killings of the students Mateo Matamala Neme and Margarita Gómez Gómez, murdered on 10 January in the jurisdiction of San Bernardo del Viento.

Since 18 February, the Colombian National Police has carried out two simultaneous operations in Buenavista and Montelíbano, where eight members of ‘Los Urabeños’ were detained who were involved in several of the most recent homicides in that region of the country, and from whom seven firearms, two fragmentation grenades, and forty-one ammunition cartridges were seized.

In the course of this offensive, two significant blows stand out against the ‘Los Rastrojos’ [‘Stubble’] gang, whose leaders Jader Luis Blanquicet Julio, alias ‘Urabá,’ and Jorge Armando Rodríguez, alias ‘Pantera’ [‘Panther’], both active in the department of El Cauca, were brought before the courts on charges of homicide, forced displacement, kidnapping, extortion, illegal weapons possession, and criminal conspiracy.

During the operations, carried out in ten departments in the country, the police arrested thirty-eight members of ‘Los Urabeños,’ thirty-three members of ‘Los Paisas’ (all belonging to the groups associated with the ‘Envigado Office’), nineteen members of ‘Los Rastrojos,’ four members of the ‘Renacer’ [‘Rebirth’] criminal gang, and one member of the self-proclaimed ‘Anticommunist Popular Army’ (ERPAC).

As a result of these actions, according to National Police reports, 65 firearms, 655 ammunition cartridges of various calibers, eight fragmentation grenades, three sticks of the explosive Indugel, four firing tubes, 90 kilograms of narcotics, 203 kilograms of precursor chemicals for processing alkaloids, and 228 gallons of liquid raw materials were seized.