HomeNewsBriefColombia’s Legendary Police Chief to Retire: Why Now?
BRIEF

Colombia’s Legendary Police Chief to Retire: Why Now?

20 APR 2012 BY JEREMY MCDERMOTT EN

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced that the national police chief, General Oscar Naranjo, would step down in July, stating that “not in vain has he been considered the best policeman in the world.”

The official reason for Naranjo’s retirement is that, after five years in the top police job, it was necessary for him to move on in order to make way for those coming up through the ranks.

With 34 years in the force, and as a pioneer of police intelligence work against drug trafficking, Naranjo has been involved in the battle against drug lords from Pablo Escobar of the Medellin Cartel, to Javier Calle Serna, alias "Comba," of the Rastrojos, who is arguably one of the most powerful Colombian traffickers today.

InSight Crime Analysis

Inevitably, rumors have swirled around Naranjo during his long career, the latest involving the supposed surrender of Calle Serna to US authorities. The general has been linked to the leaks on DEA negotiations with top drug traffickers. Some sources believe that Naranjo has been releasing this information in the hope of torpedoing the negotiations, afraid of what these capos might tell US authorities.

A great deal of mud has been slung at Naranjo, but very little has stuck. The most consistent accusation against him centered around his friendship with Danilo Gonzalez, a highly decorated former police colonel, who moved from hunting drug lords to protecting them, heading what become known in intelligence circles as the “Devil’s Cartel” made up of serving and retired policemen. Gonzales was assassinated in March 2006, and it was reported that Naranjo attended the funeral of his old friend.

Naranjo was responsible for building up Colombia’s police intelligence capabilities to a world class level. This has been instrumental not only in the arrests of two generations of drug lords, but the killings of senior commanders of the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Image, above, shows General Naranjo (right) with President Santos.

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

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…