HomeNewsBriefAssociate of Colombia's 'El Loco' Arrested in Paraguay
BRIEF

Associate of Colombia's 'El Loco' Arrested in Paraguay

EL LOCO BARRERA / 25 MAY 2012 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

A key figure in the criminal structure headed by Daniel Barrera, alias “El Loco,” was arrested in Paraguay, suggesting that the authorities are hot on the trail of the Colombian drug lord.

On May 24, Colombian police chief General Oscar Naranjo announced that Rutdy Alirio Zarate Moreno, alias "Runcho,” had been captured on May 19 in Asuncion, in a joint operation with Paraguayan and US anti-drug officials.

According to Naranjo, Runcho served as the legal representative for a number of front companies used to launder illicit profits from the drug trade, among them a Madrid-based gemstone trading company. The Colombian national is currently being held in his home country awaiting extradition to the United States, where he faces drug trafficking and money laundering charges.

As an organization chart released by the US Treasury in December 2010 shows, Runcho is considered a key facilitator in El Loco's drug trafficking operations. Two other members of the organization who held a similar rank were captured that year, but Runcho managed to evade the authorities for a further year and a half.

ABC Digital reports that he was finally tracked down to a hotel in downtown Asuncion, where the operation took place.

InSight Crime Analysis

Runcho's arrest is the latest in a series of setbacks for El Loco's organization. In September 2011 the US indicted the kingpin on drug charges, and in December Colombian officials arrested an associate of his who was reportedly a vital link to Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel. The biggest blow yet came in February, when Colombia extradited Danilo Bustos Suarez, El Loco's former right hand man, to the US.

These cases suggest that the US is closing in on El Loco, and, with the drug kingpin reportedly negotiating his surrender with US drug officials, it may be part of a strategy designed to force his hand. If he does turn himself in, it may have serious repercussions. El Loco is head of one of Colombia’s largest and most prolific drug trafficking organizations, and his exit could leave a power vacuum in the country’s criminal underworld.

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

BRAZIL / 27 APR 2021

Fahd Jamil Georges, a veteran drug trafficker along the Paraguay-Brazil border, said he surrendered to authorities after being threatened by…

ELITES AND CRIME / 20 MAY 2022

Political assassinations, record drug seizures, gang wars – an avalanche of criminal concerns in Paraguay are coalescing around the city…

BRAZIL / 14 JAN 2021

The reported leader of the PCC in Paraguay, known as “Bonitão,” has been extradited back to Brazil after a tumultuous…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…