One of the alleged top commanders of paramilitary group AGC has been living in the same building as Medellin’s mayor without any security agency ringing the alarm.
Authorities arrested Juan Pablo Usuga, a nephew of AGC leader “Otoniel,” in Carepa, Antioquia on Friday, 10 years after he reportedly joined the AUC dissident group and took on the alias of “Reseco.”
According to Defense Minister Guillermo Botero, Reseco was the finance chief of the AGC’s “Carlos Vasquez Front” in the Uraba region, the paramilitary group’s stomping ground.
Despite his top position in the country’s largest illegal armed group, Reseco and his family moved into Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez’ building eight months ago without any alarm bells going off.
“This is the pits to be honest. We must urgently revise what our strategy is and how to achieve actual efficiency in terms of state intelligence and counterintelligence,” Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez said on Twitter.
Medellin security analyst Fernando Quijano called the scandal “embarrassing” and said it was exemplary of how Medellin authorities are “good when it comes to media shows, but terrible when they have to attend the security situation in Medellin.”
The scandal came little more than a year after the Citizen Security Chief of the Antioquia Police Department was arrested for allegedly providing security to Reseco’s alleged predecessor, “Inglaterra,” and less than a year after Gutierrez’ former security secretary was sentenced to prison for his ties to local crime syndicate “Oficina de Envigado.”
Chronic corruption in the local police department and ties between the city’s elite and organized crime are devastating the effectiveness of municipal and police authorities in Medellin where homicides went up for a third consecutive year in 2018.
Since Gutierrez was elected in 2015, homicides in Medellin have gone up 27% after years of showing a downwards trend.
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