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Cablegate: Goc Breaks Up Emerging Criminal Gang And

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UNCLAS BOGOTA 006744

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER PHUM MARR CO
SUBJECT: GOC BREAKS UP EMERGING CRIMINAL GANG AND
INFILTRATION OF PUBLIC FORCES

REF: BOGOTA 5871


1. On August 31, the Colombian National Police (CNP) arrested
50 alleged members of "Los 40," an emerging criminal gang
involved in violence, drug trafficking and extortion in
Atlantico, Bolivar, and Magdalena departments. The group
took its name from former AUC commander "Jorge 40"
(demobilized in late 2006) and included members of his
demobilized Bloque Norte -- once the dominant paramilitary
group in the north. The GOC also disrupted an effort by 'Los
40' to infiltrate local law enforcement: arrests included 18
active duty police, two members of the Department of
Administrative Security (FBI equivalent), a Colombian Marine,
and a member of the Prosecutor General (Fiscalia)'s
investigative unit (CTI). These arrests, added to the
detention of 46 other members of the same gang in recent
months, effectively dismantled the group.

2. The breakup of 'Los 40' followed revelations of
infiltration of the Colombian Army by drug cartels and the
FARC, which were also discovered and broken up. From June
through August, the GOC arrested about a dozen public forces
members and suspended more than 20 pending further
investigation of possible involvement with the Norte de Valle
drugs cartel (reftel). Both cases involved extensive,
year-long investigations by the Fiscalia, in cooperation with
military and police counterintelligence. Defense Vice
Minister Sergio Jarmillo said the break-up of Norte de Valle
druglord Diego Montoya's efforts to penetrate the Army in
Valle de Cauca department enabled the military to succesfully
detain Montoya on September 10.

3. Police commanders vowed to continue operations against
emerging criminal groups and to reinforce counterintelligence
efforts. CNP Vice Director General Rafael Parra said, "We
believe collaborators or sympathizers still remain (in the
public forces), but they must be absolutely sure that we will
find them and fight them." CNP Director GEN Oscar Naranjo
stressed that operations against emerging armed groups will
be intensified, adding that additional CNP resources --
including special Carabinero units -- would be deployed
against them as part of the effort. "Against the threat of
criminal gangs," Naranjo emphasized, "the institutional
response is twofold: attacks on the groups, and the message
of zero tolerance against corruption in the public forces."

Brownfield

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