Colombia’s armed forces killed at least 15 members of the Clan del Golfo, a criminal organization connected to drug trafficking and illegal mining, during a raid on Tuesday, military sources said.
The raid represents the biggest blow to the group since October last year, when security forces arrested Clan del Golfo’s leader Dairo Antonio Usuga, better known as Otoniel, who is accused of being the most important drug trafficker in Colombia’s recent history.
The operation took place in a rural zone of Ituango municipality in Colombia’s Antioquia province, considered strategically important for cultivating coca, the chief ingredient in cocaine, according to security forces.
The Clan del Golfo is largely made up of former far-right paramilitaries who returned to lives of crime after a peace agreement with the government. It holds alliances with five international organized crime groups for distributing 20 tonnes of cocaine each month, according to Colombian police.
The Clan del Golfo fields some 1,200 combatants and is battling both dissident members of the demobilized FARC – who reject a 2016 peace deal – and guerrillas of the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) for territorial control of key areas for drug trafficking and illegal mining across the South American country.