The Colombian national prosecutor’s office said Wednesday that the deaths of Walter Patricio Arizala, alias Guacho, and the second in command of the Óliver Sinisterra Front, were the result of months of intelligence gathering from local sources and the tracking of cell phone signals.
Guacho, the most wanted man in Colombia and Ecuador for most of the last year, is a former FARC commander-turned-drug-broker who claimed responsibility for the murders of eight Ecuadorians, including three journalists.
According to a spokesman for the prosecutor, law enforcement agents worked with dozens of informants in Nariño Department, north of the border with Ecuador, many of whom had, at one time, provided Guacho with information. “The peasants in the area where he operated had become tired of the violence and lies that Guacho and his men were responsible for,” the spokesman said. “They were willing to cooperate with us to end his rein of terror.”
In the operation that led to Guacho’s killing by an army sniper, cell phone signals pinpointed his exact location. “We intercepted more than a 100 phone signals that revealed Guacho’s and Luis Alberto Bermeo’s whereabouts and through the standard procedure of triangulation we were able to find them,” the spokesman said. According to Colombian President Iván Duque, Guacho was shot while he was talking on his cell phone.
The bodies of Arizala and Bermeo, the second in command of the Óliver Sinisterra Front, were flown to Bogota on Tuesday for autopsies.