Colombia arrested seven alleged members of a transnational drug trafficking network, one of whom had links with the man suspected of ordering the hit that killed Argentine singer Facundo Cabral in Guatemala last year.
The head of the network's activities in Colombia, Salomon Hinojosa Asprilla, escaped from a Panamanian prison in January 2010. According to La Tribuna, Hinojosa allegedly helped Costa Rican trafficker Alejando Jimenez, alias "El Palidejo," flee from Panama to Colombia's Choco province after the murder of Argentine folk singer Facundo Cabral in July last year.
InSight Crime Analysis
Cabral's murder in Guatemala led Central American authorities to uncover a complex transnational trafficking network, and the investigation has involved prosecutors from some five different countries.
El Palidejo was captured in Colombia in March and extradited to Guatemala, which confirmed on October 16 that he will stand trial for ordering the hit that resulted in Cabral's death. The target of the hit was Nicaraguan nightclub owner Henry Fariñas, a former business partner of El Palidejo. Last week, a court in Nicaragua sentenced Fariñas to 30 years in prison for running an international drug trafficking ring under the command of El Palidejo.
El Palidejo is also wanted in Costa Rica for money laundering and in Nicaragua for money laundering and drug trafficking. Nicaraguan authorities believe that the network led by El Palidejo may have laundered $1.11 billion in illegal profits through the country's financial system between 2005 and 2012.
After El Palidejo's arrest, Colombian police chief Oscar Naranjo told the press that El Palidejo had been under the protection of the Rastrojos gang, which was likely one of his primary suppliers of narcotics and was reportedly planning to help him leave the country. El Palidejo has also been linked to a Mexican drug trafficking organization with ties to the Familia Michoacana.