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

BOLIVIA / 1 APR 2022

Millions of young people around the world document their experiences at work, at school or with their friends on TikTok.

AUC / 17 FEB 2022

An "invisible" Colombian drug lord whose criminal history dates to the country's former paramilitary army has been revealed to have…

COLOMBIA / 8 JUN 2021

Repeated attacks on teams recovering stolen lands in Colombia highlight the risks involved in restitution, a little-known process that is…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…