HomeNewsBriefArgentina's Castedo Clan Continues to Survive Despite Top Arrests
BRIEF

Argentina's Castedo Clan Continues to Survive Despite Top Arrests

ARGENTINA / 30 JAN 2019 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

Authorities in Bolivia have arrested a major player in the Castedo Clan, one of the most powerful drug trafficking clans in northern Argentina, but it is unlikely this will cripple the organization just yet.

Members of Bolivia’s anti-narcotics squad (Fuerza Especial de Lucha Contra el Narcotráfico -- FELCN) arrested Mario Morfulis Herrera of Argentina’s Castedo Clan in the town of Yacuíba in southern Bolivia in mid-January. He was then handed over to authorities in Argentina, the National Gendarmerie announced in a January 22 press release.

Morfulis Herrera is the brother-in-law of Delfín Castedo, considered by authorities to be one of Argentina’s most prominent drug traffickers. Delfín headed the Castedo Clan before he was arrested in July 2016 on drug trafficking charges after years on the run.

The group has allegedly held a monopoly on cocaine trafficking in northern Argentina across two decades, according to La Nación. Castedo’s sister, Roxana -- who is married to Morfulis Herrera -- owned some 20,000 hectares of land in Bolivia, while the clan had another 30,000 hectares of land under their control in northern Argentina.

In 2016, authorities reported that the network trafficked four metric tons of cocaine per month from Bolivia to Europe.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Criminal Migration

After cocaine shipments entered Argentina from Bolivia, according to La Nación, they left Quitilipi in northeast Chaco province disguised in charcoal shipments, then arrived at the ports of Rosario and Zárate before being shipped to Spain and Portugal.

Morfulis Herrera is a dual Bolivian-Argentine citizen and lived in Yacuíba, which made him one of the main pillars of the Castedo Clan’s cocaine trafficking operations in Bolivia.

The Castedo Clan has suffered a series of blows in recent years. Delfín’s brother, Raúl Castedo, alias “Ula,” was arrested a decade ago in Bolivia and was later extradited to Argentina in 2016. He had well-established contacts in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in eastern Bolivia, one of the country’s most important coca base-producing areas and where the group would acquire its product, according to La Nación.

Two of Delfín’s other brothers, Rafael and Roberto, are also in jail on charges of belonging to a criminal organization.

InSight Crime Analysis

Authorities have arrested several high-ranking members of the Castedo Clan over the years, but the group has continued to find a way to operate, and the most recent arrest of Morfulis Herrera is unlikely to be the final blow that dismantles it altogether.

One explanation for this is the fact that the clan has appeared to have sole control of nearly every link in the drug trafficking chain in northern Argentina for the better part of the last 20 years, according to authorities.

Delfín Castedo’s sister, Roxana, still reportedly owns large swaths of strategic territory on the Bolivian side of the Argentina-Bolivia border. 

SEE ALSO: Argentina News and Profile

The Castedo Clan seems to be much more established and sophisticated than other transnational groups in the country. These types of groups in Argentina have traditionally been localized, cross-border structures that would move drugs into Argentina and then sell them off to other groups who had the know-how to ship them to international markets.

In addition, the Castedo Clan has been able to recover from previous arrests, and its leaders appear to have succeeded in managing drug operations from behind bars.

In that regard, the Castedo Clan strongly resembles the infamous Monos trafficking group, which continues to rule over large parts of the major port city of Rosario's microtrafficking landscape even after a historic trial resulted in convictions and prison time for several of its top members. These groups are a reminder of growing warnings that government control may be fading behind prisons across the country.

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

ARGENTINA / 4 OCT 2021

The Monos, Argentina's leading criminal organization, know how to roll with the punches. And while their leader faces a total…

BOLIVIA / 8 NOV 2022

Environmental crime is driving deforestation across the Amazon, where some parts are now emitting more carbon dioxide than they absorb.

ARGENTINA / 3 DEC 2021

Amid a spate of attacks on drug stash houses in the city of Rosario, Argentina, residents have taken to painting…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…

WORK WITH US

Work With Us: Research Internship and Editorial Internship

31 OCT 2022

InSight Crime, a think tank dedicated to the study of organized crime and citizen security in the Americas, is seeking interns and investigators to join its dynamic, multinational team.