Colombian cops have collared an alleged former leader of the brutal Cali Cartel – Pablo Escobar’s largest rivals in the hit series Narcos – as part of the country’s war on drugs.
Prosecutors confirmed 15 people were arrested in the municipality of Puerto Asis, in the western Colombian department of Putumayo, near the border with Ecuador including Henry Loaiza Ceballos, alias ‘El Alacran’, who the authorities claim was one of the former leaders of the now-defunct Cali Cartel.
The 15 suspects are alleged to belong to the La Constru criminal organisation and are being investigated for homicide, forced displacement and drug trafficking.
Pictures Credit: CEN
According to authorities, La Constru is the organisation which has created drug trafficking routes from the south of Colombia through the Pacific Ocean to Mexico and then the United States, among other destinations.
Ceballos was reportedly the sixth most important member of the Cali Cartel and previously handed himself into the authorities in June 1995, when he was handed an 18-year prison sentence for criminal conspiracy and illicit enrichment.
He was also sentenced to 30 years in prison for participating in the Trujillo massacre which saw 42 people killed, however this sentence was commuted to a lighter sentence and he was released after 11 years.
The Cali Cartel was founded by brothers Gilberto and Miguel Rodriguez when they broke away from Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel in the late 1980s.
The cartel rose to prominence in the 1990s and they were once cited as having control over 90 percent of the world’s cocaine market. The Cali Cartel founded Los Pepes or Perseguidos por Pablo Escobar (People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar which was specifically formed to target the Medellin Cartel and cause the downfall of Pablo Escobar.
The cartel’s leaders were arrested in 1995 and the Rodriguez brothers were extradited to the United States in 2006 and pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States.
The investigation is ongoing and it is unclear if the suspects have been charged.
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