HomeNewsBriefArgentina, Bolivia Authorities Arrest South America’s 'Chapo Guzmán'
BRIEF

Argentina, Bolivia Authorities Arrest South America’s 'Chapo Guzmán'

ARGENTINA / 4 MAR 2019 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

Authorities in Bolivia have arrested one of Argentina’s most sought after drug traffickers dubbed the alleged “El Chapo Guzmán” of South America, in a case that underscores how rampant judicial corruption helps facilitate drug trafficking in the country.

In coordination with Argentina’s National Gendarmerie, Bolivian police on February 13 arrested José Miguel Farfán in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in central Santa Cruz department on drug trafficking charges, authorities announced in a tweet. He was turned over to Argentine authorities the following day.

Farfán is alleged to be one of Argentina’s most sought after drug traffickers. He reportedly bribed federal judges to facilitate his criminal activities and buy his freedom, according to Clarín.

SEE ALSO: Argentina News and Profile

Authorities first arrested Farfán in 2004 and then again in 2008 on drug trafficking charges before he was released from prison in 2010 by federal judge José Antonio "Toto" Torino -- who was later convicted of taking bribes from drug traffickers -- in northwest Salta province, according to Clarín.

In 2014, Farfán was arrested yet again for trafficking more than 411 metric tons of cocaine using small planes. However, he bribed the now jailed former federal judge Orán Raúl Reynoso to secure his freedom and fled the country, according to Clarín. A 500,000 Argentine peso (around $13,000) reward was posted for information leading to his arrest.

In Bolivia, Farfán allegedly posed as an entrepreneur and farmer using the name Miguel Ángel Salazar. He and his family led a luxurious double life in Bolivia, living in a mansion and driving a yellow Hummer while he continued his drug trafficking activities, according to Clarín.

InSight Crime Analysis

Farfán’s drug trafficking career is a prime example of how known criminals can capitalize on corruption within Argentina’s judicial system to further their criminal activities, live luxuriously and evade capture at the same time.

Indeed, the former Argentine federal judge Reynoso, who Farfán bribed to avoid prison time, is now in jail on charges that he colluded with known drug traffickers and sold confiscated cocaine all while presenting an image that he was tough on such criminals.

In one instance, Reynoso authorized two of his employees to transport seized cocaine meant for destruction back across the border to Bolivia to be repurchased by its original owners, according to La Nación.

This brand of corruption not only allowed Farfán to be freed from jail on multiple occasions, it also let him live a life of luxury in Bolivia without fear of being apprehended while he kept on with his criminal activities. So comfortable was Farfán that he reportedly invested $2 million into a condominium and had plans to build another one, according to Clarín. What’s more, the drug lord used false identification to move around the country and continue trafficking drugs to Argentina from Bolivia using small planes.

As the so-called “Chapo Guzmán of South America,” Farfán shares similar characteristics with the now jailed former Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the real “El Chapo.” The Mexican drug lord also escaped prison multiple times with the help of corrupt government officials and continued to run his billion dollar criminal enterprise after doing so. Although El Chapo, on the other hand, managed to evade authorities while trafficking hundreds of thousands of kilograms of drugs right from his home country as he had always done.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BOLIVIA / 2 SEP 2022

Peru coca prices are low. And that's leading to potential cocaine production in Bolivia.

ARGENTINA / 3 JAN 2023

E-scooters are helping Argentine drug dealers avoid city traffic and get the goods to their customers on time.

ARGENTINA / 19 JUL 2022

Two Argentine restaurateurs residing in Spain are wanted for allegedly using yachts to send cocaine between South America and Europe.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…