Kosuke Okahara

One of the harshest neighborhood in Medellin called Barrio Popular.
Women living in one of the slum areas in Medellin sitting at the terace of their house.
Family members living in one of the slum areas in Medellin.
A gangster in Medellin's notirous neighborhood. He has scars of bullet and knives all over his body.
A gangster with 2 children stay inside his house as he lives near the border of rival gang groups.
A father of the victim, who was shot dead by gang members in Medellin stands in front of his son's corps.
A 30 years old hit-man started fighting as a leftist guerrilla fighter (FARC) when he was and became a hit-man after he left FARC.
A woman smoking marjunana in the house where peole are trading marijuana.
A mother of one of the gang members in Medellin. "I know there is no opportunity to have a decent life if you are born in this neighborhood."
A mother and a sister in law of one of the gang members of Medellin's slum are take care of her daughter who had hydrocephalus.
Pictures of 30 years old hit-man's children.
A girl from country side makes and sells the hand made accesories in one of the slum areas in Medellin.
A mother and her baby sit in front of the house in Medellin's Barrio Manrique, one of the difficult neighborhoods.
Mothers and children on the street of Barrio Manrique, one of the difficult neighborhoods.
A young boy and his older friend living in one of the slum areas in Medellin sing rap music on the bus to make little money to help their family.
A patron of Marijuana and friends talk and have fun at night in one of the slum areas in Medellin.
3 suspects of a murgder waiting for the examination of gun powder to make clear who actually shot and killed a victim.
A body of a 6 years old kid lygin on the morgue at a hospital in Medellin. he was shot by the cross fire while rival gang groups started fighting.
A canal in Medellin.
An officer of judicial police that collect the bodies that are found everyday in Medellin.
A night scene of one of the slum areas in Medellin. Some gangstars in the neighborhood patrol at night to protect the neighborhood from other gang groups.
One of the gang members and his girl friend kiss on the bed
Pictures of women that were inside the pocket of one of the gangstars who was shot deat on the street in one of the slum areas in Medellin.
before the autopsy, doctors look at the profile of one of the gangstars who was shot dead by the rival gang group.
Bodies of the victims in Medellin's morgue for autopsy. Everyday, 10 to 20 people are killed and sent to the morgue.
Mother and grand mother of gangmembers having the birthday party.
Two gangstars in one of the slum areas in Medellin patrol at night to make sure that no rival gang groups enter their neighborhood.


Any given day

– Living for the moment in Medellin’s new drug war –

“Everything is easy in this town, love, sex, drugs, even killing, you know… we have a God who makes everything easy, that’s the God of Medellin.”

Alberto, one of the gang members in Medellin said on the street in the slum area of the town.

“I know the situation became quite tough, but we have been in this situation for decades. And there is no way to escape from this war.”

Young gangsters started fighting each other after the extradition of Diego Fernando Murillo, commonly known as Don Berna, who was a drug lord and a paramilitary boss. He controlled the town from prison even after his arrest by hiring hit men, and managing the ever-lucrative drug business.

But when Don Berna was extradited to the U.S. in May 2008, and Medellin lost its boss, the town spiralled into chaos. All small narco groups started fighting for control of the city, and ultimately, for control of the cocaine trade.

The situation of these slum areas is complicated since many gang groups exist like mosaic. The groups are not clearly separated. There is a group and another opposition group is just 2 streets away. All of these groups belong to 2 bosses after Don Berna’s extradition to the U.S. One is Sebastian, the other is Valenciano. Now Medellin is expecting either Sebastian or Valenciano to control the entire town. Until the end, the fighting will not stop.

A former undercover DEA officer in Medellin said, “They won’t stop this until they find the one who takes complete control. They’ll keep killing each other until they find their God. But it’s true, this is the way it is here. People cry when someone is killed but it’s also a part of normal life here. It’s not a special thing; life goes on in the streets even if there are deaths.”

Medellin is once again at war with itself, in search of a ruthless ruler to reign over the city and all drug groups in their violently smooth and easy-going life. Colombia is facing a new era with a new president, but Medellin is always a strategically important city in Colombia since, sadly, Colombia’s economy depends very much on drug money.