The Ship's Log: Colombia's gangsters are getting guns from the army
Several high-ranking military officials have been linked to arms sales to criminal groups
On November 5, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Colombian army, Jorge Esteban Bautista López was arrested in El Dorado airport in Bogotá, and charged with smuggling weapons from the US to sell to criminal armed groups the National Liberation Army (ELN), and the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC)- or the “Clan del Golfo”, as the government prefers to call them.
He is, allegedly, part of a ring of high-level military officials who sold pistols, rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition to organized criminal groups in Colombia.
The story is, according to Colombia’s Prosecutor’s office, “merely the tip of the iceberg” in cases of Colombian Military officials selling weapons and ammunition to ELN and AGC, as well as ex-FARC dissident forces who rejected Colombia’s 2016 peace agreement.
Criminal armed groups are increasingly acquiring their weapons from the very institution that in theory, is combating them— the Colombian military.