HomeNewsBriefColombia Homicide Case Points to FARC-Sinaloa Cartel Links
BRIEF

Colombia Homicide Case Points to FARC-Sinaloa Cartel Links

COLOMBIA / 10 JUN 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

The recent murder of a Colombian official has brought to light a criminal coalition in which local businessmen, Mexican drug traffickers, and the Urabeños work with the FARC guerrillas to launder drug money and move cocaine.

Celia Escobar Florez, a top inspector for Colombia’s tax and customs agency, known by its Spanish acronym DIAN, in the southwestern Huila province, was murdered on May 10 in the province capital Neiva. According to newspaper El Tiempo, police believe her murder was ordered by a local businessman — who officials requested remain anonymous — after she refused to accept bribes to halt investigations into suspected money laundering operations.

Prosecutors believe the businessman is involved in laundering money for the Teofilo Forero Column of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and also serves as a contact for the FARC with Mexico’s Sinaloa and Gulf Cartels. According to El Tiempo, the businessman has a style reminiscent of Pablo Escobar, investing in extravagant public works projects while rubbing shoulders with the Huila elite.

Officials say the Huila town of Pitalito is a key center of money laundering operations, and is also home to two important drug traffickers linked to the rebels — Mexican citizen alias “El Sinaloeño,” who serves as a contact between Mexico and the head of the Teofilo Forero Column, and alias “Patrocinio,” a member of the Urabeños believed to be helping the Mexicans obtain FARC cocaine.

InSight Crime Analysis

The current report illustrates a FARC strategy common to criminal organizations of using well-connected middlemen — often with connections to multiple groups — to facilitate the movement of drugs and money and to organize money laundering schemes. 

The report also serves to highlight the FARC’s international connections, something also evidenced by the fact that an estimated 70 percent of the guerrilla organization’s assets are held outside Colombia. Seized computer files showed FARC links with the Sinaloa Cartel date back to at least 2010; a more recent report indicated that the guerrilla organization has been selling off its drug franchises to the Mexican organization.

Established FARC-Urabeños drug connections have evolved as well, with the neo-paramilitary group reportedly taking over some of the FARC’s drug trafficking operations.

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.

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 12 MAR 2020

After receiving threats, park rangers in Colombia have abandoned areas of the Amazon that they were protecting. Now these territories…

COLOMBIA / 26 NOV 2020

A local government in Colombia is offering small, low interest loans to people struggling to make ends meet in the…

COLOMBIA / 14 DEC 2018

The city of Cali in Colombia is on track to see a drop in homicides for the fifth straight year,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …