HomeNewsBriefAttempts to Purchase Colombia Rebel Drug Labs Show Sinaloa Cartel Expansion
BRIEF

Attempts to Purchase Colombia Rebel Drug Labs Show Sinaloa Cartel Expansion

COLOMBIA / 15 APR 2014 BY SETH ROBBINS EN

Police in Colombia have arrested an operative from Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel who was attempting to buy cocaine laboratories from Colombia’s FARC rebels, in another sign the cartel is extending its reach further down the drug supply chain.

Hector Manuel Coronel Castillo, also known as "Rincon," was captured following a six-month undercover operation in the Colombian city of Cali, and allegedly moved around the country administering the Mexican cartel’s business, according to El Tiempo.

Coronel was responsible for sending at least ten tons of cocaine from Colombia to Mexico over the past year, police said, with help from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Coronel was also tasked with buying FARC-owned cocaine laboratories in the states of Cauca and Nariño, near the border with Ecuador.

The Sinaloa link apparently negotiated with leaders of the FARC’s Daniel Aldana column, which in turn guaranteed the safe movement of the drugs from processing labs in Colombia to the exterior.

According to Colombian authorities, the cocaine was transported to the port city of Buenaventura and then packed into boats that moved it to Central America and finally onwards to the United States.

In the operation, police also captured Narciso Portilla Arevalo, a Colombian with ties to the Sinaloa Cartel, according to Caracol.

InSight Crime Analysis

Talk of the Sinaloa Cartel buying up the FARC's drug trade interests is not new. In 2013, reports emerged the guerrillas were selling off coca plantations and laboratories to the Mexican group ahead of a potential peace agreement with the Colombian government.

The rebels and the government are in the middle of long-running negotiations, and have now reached the third item on a five-point agenda -- the illegal drug industry. These recent negotiations between the FARC and the Sinaloa Cartel may indicate guerilla leaders are serious about striking peace and withdrawing from the drug trade, though the acceptance of such a move by mid-level commanders and rank-and-file guerrillas is far from certain.

SEE ALSO: FARC, Peace and Potential Criminalization

The Sinaloa Cartel’s direct negotiations with the FARC also suggest the cartel has been seeking new partners in the wake of the implosion of longtime Colombian drug smuggling allies, the Rastrojos. Other allies, such as the Cifuentes Villa clan, have also fallen, and the Sinaloa Cartel likely needs to strengthen its supply line.

By going directly to the FARC, which controls large swaths of coca cultivation land and already provides cocaine to them, the Sinaloa Cartel also cuts out any middlemen, therefore claiming a larger slice of the profits.

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

COLOMBIA / 16 AUG 2022

The ELN and Urabeños are once again battling for control of Bolívar, a northern department of Colombia.

COLOMBIA / 19 DEC 2022

Entrenched criminal groups on the Colombia border keep resisting Venezuelan Army efforts to root them out.

HUMAN RIGHTS / 27 JUL 2021

Reports of migrants dying and disappearing in the US-Mexico borderlands are becoming increasingly common, propelled in part by a restrictive…

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…