Colombia new Drug Lords and the Zetas

The Urabeños have come to dominate Colombia’s transnational drug trade, emerging as the only “criminal band,” or BACRIM (from the Spanish acronym for “bandas criminales”) to maintain a national reach and influence.

The Urabeños‘ rise as the most powerful of Colombia’s drug trafficking groups — and their demonstrated ability to export massive amounts of cocaine northwards — can in part be explained by their ability to establish international links and a foothold abroad.

Middlemen like Alfaro and Vasquez — who appear to have been facilitating contact and drug shipments between the Urabeños and Mexican drug trafficking organizations — helped make the Urabeños’ expansion possible. 

Nonetheless, recent captures by Colombian authorities of high-level Urabeños operatives — as well as an intense manhunt for Dairo Antonio Usuga, alias “Otoniel,” the organization’s leader — have brought the Urabeños and their transnational drug trafficking network under increasing pressure.

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