Crime Boss Arrested For 13 Massacres That Killed 400

Story ByAna LacasaSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCentral European News

A former paramilitary boss accused of kidnapping the great-niece of a Nobel Prize-winning writer and is wanted in connection with 13 massacres which saw over 400 people killed has been arrested.

According to the local police, John Jairo Esquivel, alias ‘El Tigre’ (‘The Tiger’), was arrested in the municipality of Maicao in the northern Colombian department of La Guajira after several months of investigations.

Picture Credit: CEN/@GaulaPolicia

He is believed to be the former commander of the Northern Bloc of the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia, a paramilitary organisation that was in operation from 1997 until 2006.

Reports said the right-wing paramilitary and drug trafficking group was an active belligerent in the Colombian conflict between the Colombian government, paramilitary groups, crime syndicates and communist guerrillas that began in the mid-1960s.

Picture Credit: CEN/@GaulaPolicia

Esquivel is accused of taking part in 13 massacres that killed over 400 people as well as other crimes such as kidnapping, torture, blackmail and homicide, according to local media.

The suspect is also linked with the disappearance and murder of seven cops in the department of Cesar in March 2000.

According to the police, Esquivel planned and organised the kidnapping of Melisa Martinez Garcia, the great-niece of the Nobel Prize-winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, last year.

Martinez Garcia was kidnapped on 23rd August 2018 in a rural area in the northern Caribbean department of Santa Marta and she was rescued on 17th December in an operation that saw the arrest of 11 people.

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Ana Lacasa

I am a senior writer and journalist and editor of the Spanish desk for the Central European News agency.