HomeNewsBriefColombia Frees Brother of Top Organized Crime Leader
BRIEF

Colombia Frees Brother of Top Organized Crime Leader

COLOMBIA / 3 FEB 2016 BY ARRON DAUGHERTY EN

The recent release of a high-level drug trafficking and money laundering suspect highlights Colombia's continued difficulty in successfully prosecuting organized crime.

A Colombian judge granted Juan Carlos Calle Serna, alias "Armando," conditional release after serving part of his prison sentence, El País reported.

Armando is a suspected member of drug trafficking group the Rastrojos and brother to former Rastrojos leader Javier Antonio Calle Serna, alias "Comba". 

SEE ALSO: Rastrojos News and Profile

Armando was captured in Ecuador in 2012. At the time Colombian authorities suspected him of handling international finances for the Rastrojos, but were unable prosecute him on drug trafficking or money laundering charges. Instead, he was sentenced to five years in prison document fraud and for carrying an unregisted weapon. There are currently no other pending cases against Armando involving organized crime charges, sources from the Colombian Prosecutor General's Office told El País.

Meanwhile, trials against Comba and Armando's other brother, Luis Enrique Calle Serna, continue in the United States. Comba and Luis Enrique surrendered to US authorities separately in 2012.

16-02-20-CombaBros

Luis Enrique Calle Serna (left) and Comba (right)

InSight Crime Analysis

Armando walking free in Colombia -- while his brothers remain on trial in the United States -- is indicative of the challenges that high-level crime figures pose to Colombia's justice system. 

Despite receiving billions from the United States to beef up its police and military, Colombia's courts remain relatively ineffective. A 2014 study found that only 15 percent of those arrested by police end up in prison. Meanwhile, frequent corruption scandals have reached as high as Colombia's Constitutional Court

SEE ALSO:  Colombia News and Profiles

Colombian officials are aware of these issues, as evidenced by their extensive policy of extraditing organized crime figures to the United States. But relying on the United States for successful prosecutions is not a sustainable long-term policy, and is also a tool vulnerable to abuse

In this particular case, it is possible that Armando will return to a criminal organization that has been hobbled during his time away. On top of Comba's surrender, the conviction of Rastrojos founder Diego Perez Henao, alias "Diego Rastrojo," has decimated the group's leadership. 

Overall, it appears the Rastrojos have proved less capable of withstanding leadership losses, compared to their rivals the Urabeños, who now dominate the Colombian drug trade. This is despite the fact that to some degree, both the Rastrojos and the Urabeños adopted a more decentralized model when running their criminal businesses. 

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 / 21 OCT 2022

The re-opening of the Colombia-Venezuela border was a momentous occasion. But did it come too early?…

COCA / 12 JUL 2022

The historic publication of the Final Report from Colombia’s Truth Commission has crystallized the core issues that president-elect Gustavo Petro…

BRAZIL / 24 MAR 2022

The 2021 ranking of the world's most violent cities predictably features a heavy presence by Latin American and Caribbean population…

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…