HomeNewsBriefArgentina Arrests Members of International Drug-Trafficking Soccer Hooligan Network

Argentina Arrests Members of International Drug-Trafficking Soccer Hooligan Network


The arrest of several members of an international drug trafficking organization made up of soccer hooligans from Argentina and Colombia adds to the mounting evidence of the involvement of these groups in organized crime and highlights growing criminal ties between the two countries.

On September 26, Argentine authorities arrested 15 people suspected of belonging to a network of criminalized soccer hooligan groups known as “barras bravas” that imported drugs from Colombia and sold them throughout Greater Buenos Aires, according to a report from Clarín.

The operation against the so-called “Soccer Hooligan Cartel” (“Cartel de las Barras”) also included more than 20 raids in which authorities seized more than a kilogram of marijuana, at least 1,100 doses of cocaine and 1,400 doses of paco (a smokable paste from an intermediate stage of cocaine production).

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Soccer and Crime

Authorities identified one of the network leaders as Colombian national Sebastián Parra Jaramillo, who is also a leader of a fan club for the Atlético Nacional soccer team in Medellín, Colombia. He is alleged to have obtained drugs on consignment to then smuggle them into Argentina.

Parra Jaramillo was apprehended in the home of the son of Edgardo Gustavo Vallejos, alias “El Gordo,” head of the Argentine barra brava that supports the Club Deportivo Laferrere soccer team in Buenos Aires Province. El Gordo’s son remains at large.

Authorities in Argentina confirmed the connection between the two groups during the World Cup in Russia, when officials with the Agency for the Prevention of Violence in Sports (Agencia de Prevención de la Violencia en Deporte – APREVIDE) documented a series of suspicious meetings between the clubs.

InSight Crime Analysis

This is not the first time that such organizations have been involved in illegal activities in Argentina, nor is it the first time that they have been found to have ties to Colombian groups. However, cases in which drugs are left on consignment are rare. That it occurred between these two groups shows that they maintained a high level of trust. It is also a sign that criminal ties between the two countries continue to strengthen.

“This organization had a contact who traveled to Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, where he obtained drugs on consignment, which is strange because drugs are [usually] paid for beforehand, but the soccer connection allowed them to pull it off,” said Buenos Aires Province Security Minister Cristan Ritondo at a press conference reported by Clarín.

The results of the operation also demonstrated the increasingly important role that sports have come to play in the establishment and consolidation of criminal activities like extortion and money laundering.

The Laferrere barra brava has been charging local businesses protection fees since 2010. And its political ties have helped it to gain control of the area’s informal transportation services, including not only private vehicles but also buses, according to an Infobae investigation.

As InSight Crime has reported in the past, and as this case shows, more soccer fan and hooligan groups seem to be looking to expand their criminal portfolios into more lucrative activities, sometimes violent ones.

But Argentina’s authorities have the barras bravas in their sights. During a visit to a government council on security at soccer events, Minister Ritondo announced his intention to combat not only violence but also the “soccer mafias.”

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

BRAZIL / 2 JUN 2014

The son of retired Brazilian soccer star Pele has been sentenced to 33 years in prison for the laundering of…

COLOMBIA / 12 JAN 2017

Amid increasing desertion, two rival groups of FARC rebels clashed leaving two dead, a clear violation of the ceasefire and…

COLOMBIA / 11 SEP 2013

A high-profile drug trafficker with familial ties to Alvaro Uribe has pleaded guilty to drug trafficking in the United States,…

About InSight Crime


We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.


InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area


Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…


InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…


InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …


InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas


In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…