HomeNewsBriefColombia Judicial Official Implicated in Money Laundering Scheme
BRIEF

Colombia Judicial Official Implicated in Money Laundering Scheme

COLOMBIA / 12 AUG 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Authorities in Colombia have arrested a high-level judicial official for attempting to smuggle at least $1 million in alleged drug money, underlining the country's struggle to root out corruption in the justice system.

Carmen Sofia Carreño, the private secretary to a top judicial authority in Colombia, was arrested on July 30 alongside four other suspects in Bogota's international airport while carrying $1 million in their suitcases. The Attorney General's Office has recently established that the money belonged to a drug trafficking network that moved narcotics to Mexico and the United States, according to Noticias RCN

Although RCN did not identify the drug trafficking organization, authorities suspect Carreño may have been working for a criminal network in the Dominican Republic that was recently dismantled. According to Colombian officials, Carreño had made five trips to the Dominican Republic since March and is believed to have smuggled up to $6 million in drug profits.

Carreño and the other suspects are currently in preventive detention awaiting trial.

Carreño's boss -- who heads the Technical Investigation Unit (CTI), a division within the Attorney General's Office that handles criminal investigations and overseeing the judicial police -- said that Carreño handled "correspondence and calls" for her job. 

InSIght Crime Analysis

Although Carreño has yet to be convicted of any wrongdoing, her case nevertheless speaks to the levels of corruption that remain within Colombia's justice system. The fact that Carreño was potentially involved in moving millions of dollars in drug money, without anyone noticing until now, speaks volumes about the potential degree to which criminal networks have penetrated the CTI and the Attorney General's Office. 

The CTI scandal is also worrying because this unit is tasked with investigating organized crime groups, and drug traffickers routinely look to corrupt state institutions in order to facilitate their criminal operations. Nearly 600 public officials have been arrested in the past 18 months for their alleged links to the Urabeños, Colombia's largest drug trafficking organization. This high level of official corruption may help explain why the criminal group's top boss, Dario Antonio Usuga, alias "Otoniel," has yet to be captured despite a massive manhunt against him.

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profiles

Evidence of corruption within Colombia's judicial system extends beyond just the recent CTI scandal. In March, the former head of Colombia's Constitutional Court was found to have been soliciting favors from another judge with alleged ties to the Urabeños. Authorities also broke up the "cartel of judges" in 2013, which allegedly gave lenient sentences to criminals in exchange for bribes.

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.

Tags

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

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

Over the last five years, the cocaine trade has enjoyed an unprecedented boom, with production levels at record highs.

COLOMBIA / 9 AUG 2019

While Colombia is known for its vast coca fields, the hillsides of its Cauca region are covered in another illicit…

COLOMBIA / 31 MAY 2019

New orders from Colombia’s military leadership showing a possible return to policies that previously led to a wave of extrajudicial…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…