HomeNewsBriefColombia Disbands Transnational Synthetic Drug Ring
BRIEF

Colombia Disbands Transnational Synthetic Drug Ring

COLOMBIA / 30 APR 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Authorities in Colombia and the United States have broken up a synthetic drug trafficking network that reportedly supplied six countries in the region, indicating transnational criminal groups are beginning to capitalize on the increasing demand for this type of drug.

In an April 29 press release, Colombia's National Police announced the arrests of 18 alleged members of the trafficking network, known as "Los Pri," and the seizure of synthetic drugs and precursor chemicals that allegedly belonged to the group. The operations were carried out in several different parts of Colombia, including the island of San Andres and the cities of Cali and Medellin. The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) captured two of the group's leaders in Miami, according to the press release. 

Colombian police believe Los Pri had a monopoly on the synthetic drug market in six countries. According to the press release, Los Pri allegedly distributed drugs within Colombia and sent shipments via air to Panama, Peru, and the United States, among other countries. One of the network's alleged leaders operated from a prison in Ecuador, coordinating synthetic drug sales in Ecuador, Peru, and Chile.  

The head of the network's operations in Colombia, alias "Chon," was arrested in a luxury residence in the city of Cali. In order to manufacture his product, Chon imported the synthetic drug MDMA from Belgium, Holland, and England, and mixed it with caffeine, methamphetamine, and ketamine, a horse tranquilizer, according to police.

InSight Crime Analysis

Los Pri appears to be among the first dismantled criminal groups in the region dedicated to high-volume synthetic drug trafficking at the international level. Colombian police captured the country's synthetic drug "czar" in March 2014, and linked a massacre that took place in Cali last October to criminal groups battling for control of the city's synthetic drug trade. However, until now there has been little evidence of synthetic drug trafficking groups in Colombia or elsewhere in Latin America supplying numerous countries in the region, as well as the United States. 

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profiles

The rise of sophisticated transnational synthetic drug trafficking organizations makes sense given the growing popularity of this class of drugs throughout much of Latin America. A 2014 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) indicated that consumption of synthetic drugs such as ecstasy is increasing in many parts of Central and South America, particularly in Brazil and Argentina. Similarly, in 2013 Colombia's then national police director went so far as to say that in Colombia, synthetic drugs were "replacing cocaine." According to a 2013 study on illicit drug consumption, 7.5 percent of the Colombian population had experimented with some type of synthetic drug, reported El Espectador.

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 / 5 JAN 2011

A Colombian drug trafficker told Brazilian police of a plan to kidnap former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's son.

BRAZIL / 4 MAY 2021

Brazil, Colombia and Peru have deployed their armies to fight deforestation and other crimes in the Amazon rainforest.

COLOMBIA / 25 MAY 2011

Venezuela authorities seized 330 kilos of cocaine and arrested two people, one a Colombian national, in two separate operations in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…