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Prominent member of Gulf Clan detained in Chocó Department on November 3

On November 3 President Iván Duque announced that security forces detained Elkin Darío “Simón” Tuberquia and two accomplices in Cantón de San Pablo, in the Chocó Department. “Simon” is considered a prominent member in the Gulf Clan (formally called Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia or AGC), responsible for overseeing laboratories for the processing of cocaine in western parts of the country, including in Chocó, Valle del Cauca, and Antioquia. The prominent militant commanded at least 650 men. He was appointed as regional chief in July by Daniel Antonio “Otoniel” Úsuga, the leader of the Gulf Clan. “Simon” had previously served under the ranks of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The detention of “Simon” takes place weeks after security forces killed José Abel “Mordisco” Bustamante on October 17, another prominent member in the group’s ranks with commanding responsibilities in Antioquia. Furthermore, on October 26 the Gulf Clan suffered setbacks at the hands of security forces, who detained at least 20 members in western parts of the country. As previously assessed, trends in organized crime suggest that further operations resulting in the detention or neutralization of high-ranking members will undermine Otoniel’s influence in the group, potentially prompting splinters or the appearance of rogue elements within the Gulf Clan. Despite Otoniel’s purported intentions to initiate a peace process with the government as a result of mounting military pressure, elements within the group are unlikely to demobilize, especially in light of perceived shortcomings of the FARC peace deal.

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