Video Shows Colombian Commandos Capturing Drug Kingpin in Jungle Firefight
Colombian special forces released a video from a helmet cam showing their capture one of the country’s top 20 most wanted men, Édgar Gutierrez Arenas, also known as “Thomas.”
The April 22 video is short, and comes in towards the end of what was likely a much longer firefight. It shows the commandos firing rifles into the jungle foliage. They then charge at and surround the shirtless Thomas, who surrenders as a helicopter swoops in overhead.
It ends with a face shot of Thomas on what looks like a small landing strip, and shows other individuals arrested in the raid.
According to El Universal, the operation took place in the municipality of Istmina (Chocó), and was launched just 24 hours after Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos revealed the country’s 20 most wanted organized crime kingpins.
Thomas had taken command of the Clan Úsuga paramilitary group—known for crimes including drug trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, and murder—after the death of its former leader, Jairus Jesus Durango. The group is also known as the Clan of Úsuga David, and formerly went by the name “The Urabeños.”
Santos tweeted out an image on April 19 announcing the arrest, and declaring it was a “new blow to Clan Úsuga.”
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) April 19, 2016
El Universal reports that during the firefight, one of Thomas’s guards was killed and five others were captured. Among the others captured was Ómar of Jesus Ciro Henao, also known as “Eagle,” who was the group’s financial chief in the region.
Thomas was allegedly on his way to reunite 385 armed men in Antioquia, Choco and Valle del Cauca, according to El Universal.