By Jim Kouri
A top leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) terrorist group, along with four other alleged members, were killed by Colombian troops, according to a U.S. law enforcement source.
The law enforcement source claims that Jose Neftali Umenza, a/k/a “Mincho,” was responsible for handling most of the FARC’s drug-trafficking business in the Pacific area.
Umenza died Friday in an explosion in a rural part of the Buenaventura port city in southwestern Colombia, the Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said in a press statement.
Pinzon claimed that four other alleged FARC rebels died too, while four others were wounded during the army attack. He added that the death of the FARC drug boss is a “major blow against the FARC.”
“Mincho” served in the Marxist, paramilitary organization for more than 40 years and took part in several kidnapping-for-ransom incidents, including the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Colombian Congress members, the abduction of 120 workers in southern Buenaventura in 2009, as well as the kidnapping and murder of six journalists from that same area.
The Law Enforcement Examiner’s American source said that “Mincho” was the Marxist group’s top connection with the Mexican drug cartels, and that his criminal activities represented 30 percent of the resources of the FARC’ s leadership.
The FARC, Colombia’s largest rebel group, has been at war with the government since its establishment in 1964. It is listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization with several members currently incarcerated in U.S. federal prisons.
The killing of Umenza and his men is believed to be retaliation for an October 10 FARC sneak attack. Seven soldiers of the Colombian army were killed in an ambush in Cauca. The military vehicle carrying the soldiers was attacked with explosives “in a cruel way and in a defenseless situation,” said Colombia’s Defense Minister.
Two non-commissioned officers were among those killed in the attack. The ambush was followed by a confrontation between the armed forces and guerrilla members near the site of the attack.