HomeNewsBriefColombia Massacre Linked to Battle Over Synthetic Drug Trade: Police
BRIEF

Colombia Massacre Linked to Battle Over Synthetic Drug Trade: Police

COLOMBIA / 7 OCT 2014 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

A struggle for control over sales of synthetic drug 2CB led to the massacre of eight people in Colombia's third-largest city, police say, a sign that criminal groups see this emerging market as highly lucrative and worth killing for. 

As previously reported by InSight Crime, a meeting that took place between members of the Urabeños criminal network in the southwestern city of Cali left eight people dead, including an important leader in the region's synthetic drug trade, Julio Cesar Paz Varela, alias "J1."

El Tiempo reported that Paz met with an Urabeños faction once led by Greylin Fernando Varon Cadena, alias "Martin Bala," and Hector Mario Urdinola, alias "Chicho." These two men, who are under house arrest and in prison, respectively, were the leaders of the Machos -- a group affiliated with the Urabeños -- and once controlled the local trade in 2CB, a synthetic drug also known as "pink cocaine." Paz reportedly took over Cali's trade in 2CB after Chicho's capture.

According to El Tiempo, police believe that Paz and those loyal to him may have been killed on Martin Bala's and Chicho's orders because he wanted to break away and establish an independent 2CB trafficking network, without giving the two leaders a cut of profits. 

InSight Crime Analysis

As InSight Crime has previously noted, this dispute is partly due to the Urabeños' reliance on smaller gangs to act as their footsoldiers -- even though these smaller criminal "franchises" don't always get along. If the struggle over control of Cali's 2CB market indeed led to this recent massacre, it would be a clear sign of just how much Colombia's organized crime groups value this synthetic product.

Notably, a man described as Colombia's synthetic drug "czar" and heir to the Macho's drug trafficking network was arrested in March 2014. This may have created a void in the synthetic drug trade that Paz Varela was attempting to fill.

Pink cocaine, which bears no chemical relation to its namesake, has a high street value -- over $70 per dose -- meaning small sales can still equal large profits.The drug produces effects similar to MDMA, and was first introduced in Colombia as a party drug for the wealthy. The seizure of over 3,000 2CB capsules in 2013 prompted police to claim that 2CB was "gradually replacing cocaine". 

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profile

Large seizures of 2CB in countries like Peru show the drug is gaining popularity in other parts of Latin America as well, following a trend towards increased synthetic drug use -- and production -- in the region.

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 / 17 MAY 2013

Binational kidnapping gangs made up of Colombians and Venezuelans are spreading from the border states into central Venezuela, fuelling a…

COLOMBIA / 19 FEB 2018

The governments of Colombia and Ecuador have agreed to ramp up security cooperation along their shared border as criminal violence…

COLOMBIA / 28 MAR 2014

US aid to Colombia has declined considerably since 2008. Counternarcotics and counterinsurgency activities, in which Washington has been heavily involved…

About InSight Crime

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…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…