What You Need to Know:
The leader of the Oliver Sinisterra Front (FOS), a splinter group of the demobilized Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) was captured on Monday in Ecuador after a three month long operation by authorities.
The Front is heavily involved in the production of cocaine in the border regions between Colombia and Ecuador, and is thought to have been one of the Sinaloa Cartels main international partners since at least 2017.
The clamp down on individuals such as El Gringo, the nom de Guerre of Carlos Arturo Landázuri Cortés, came after Ecuador experienced a period of gang-related civil unrest earlier this month. As a result, Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency in the nation, and launched a military operation against various criminal groups.
Cesar Zapata, Commander of the Ecuadorian Police stated to reporters, “An immigration hearing will be held so that he can be expelled from Ecuador and sent to Colombia.”
The Oliver Sinisterra Front is active in Ecuador’s Esmeralda Province as well as in the Colombian Province of Narino, where it competes for influence in the area against the National Liberation Front (ELN), Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC), and the United Pacific Guerrillas (GUP).
El Gaucho, otherwise known as Walter Patricio Arizala, Joined FARC’s Daniel Aldana Mobile Column (CMDA), alongside El Gringo in 2007.
Following the demobilization of FARC in 2016, Arizala formed the Oliver Sinisterra Front, with Cortés as his second-in-command.
From October 2017 until Arizala’s death in December 2018, the Front wreaked havoc across Colombia and Ecuador, committing massacres, attacking police units, planting bombs, and kidnapping civilians and journalists.
Arizala was killed by Colombian Government Forces on December 21, 2018, leaving Cortés to fill his role.
According to Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, Cortés commands around 120 FOS members and was sought after by INTERPOL.