HomeNewsAnalysisPolice Arrest Link between Colombia's Rastrojos and the Sinaloa Cartel
ANALYSIS

Police Arrest Link between Colombia's Rastrojos and the Sinaloa Cartel

RASTROJOS / 13 JAN 2011 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

Colombian police, working with the DEA, have captured in Cali a man they insist is the link between the Rastrojos and the Mexican Sinaloa cartel.

Julio Enrique Ayala Muñoz, alias "Condor," is believed to be the principal broker for cocaine shipments between the Colombian gang, the Rastrojos, and the Sinaloa cartel. Within the Rastrojos there is a group known as "Los Comba," which answers directly to Luis Enrique Calle Serna, alias "Comba," the Rastrojos overall boss. Police general Carlos Ramiro Mena said that Ayala was the middle man for contacts between Calle Serna and Joaquin Guzman Loera, alias "El Chapo," the head of the Sinaloa cartel and one of the world's most wanted men. There is an extradition order to the United States for Ayala, where he is to answer charges of drug smuggling before a New York court.

Ayala previously worked for Wilber Alirio Varela, alias "Jabon," a head of the Norte Del Valle Cartel, which unraveled in 2008 after Varela was assassinated in Venezuela and other cartel leaders were arrested. It is believed that Calle Serna was behind the killing of his boss Varela, and he quickly took over the reins, not only of Varela's organization, but the remnants of the Norte Del Valle Cartel.

Police are linking Ayala to $27 million that was found in a shipping container in the Colombian port of Buenaventura in September 2009. The ship had come from Mexico and the money was believed to be payment from the Sinaloa Cartel to the Rastrojos for cocaine.

Ayala’s network appears to have been infiltrated by U.S. and Colombian intelligence assets, as it is linked to more than six tons of cocaine that were seized in Buenaventura on December 29 last year. Ayala was captured in 2009, but managed to escape, allegedly returning to an area in Colombia’s Norte Del Valle department where drug traffickers have strong influence, and living under a false identity.

Ayala will be quickly replaced as the Rastrojos are one of the principal providers of cocaine to the Sinaloa cartel, along with rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

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