Colombia has successfully prosecuted another member of a notorious narco-clan once allied with the Sinaloa Cartel, marking what may be the final chapter for the crime family.
Lucia Ines Cifuentes Villa was sentenced to 11 years and six months in prison after pleading guilty to drug trafficking charges in a Colombian court. According to the Colombian Attorney General's Office, she formed part of a criminal network that exported cocaine from Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico to the United States.
Investigations revealed that Cifuentes had ties to the Sinaloa Cartel and was responsible for an eight-ton cocaine shipment seized by Ecuadorian authorities in 2009. She has also been linked to a 32 kilo shipment of cocaine paste seized in the southern province of Nariño.
The Attorney General's Office stated in a press release that Cifuentes is the first woman with ties to the Sinaloa Cartel to be sentenced in Colombia.
InSight Crime Analysis
Lucia Cifuentes was arrested earlier this year on drug trafficking charges along with another member of the Cifuentes Villa family, Jaime. Both have been on the US Treasury Department's "Kingpin List" since 2011 (pdf), alongside other players in the Cifuentes Villa network.
The roots of the Cifuentes Villa clan go back to the Medellin Cartel days, when Francisco Ivan Cifuentes Villa, alias "Pacho Cifuentes," worked as a pilot for Pablo Escobar. Francisco was assassinated by crime boss Diego Murillo, alias "Don Berna," in 2007.
Since then, most members of the Cifuentes Villa family have been killed or captured. Two of Francisco's brothers have been extradited to the United States. Francisco's sister Dolly – who had a child with former President Alvaro Uribe's brother – was extradited to the United States in 2012.
SEE ALSO: Sinaloa Cartel News and Profiles
Lucia Cifuentes' sentencing is just the latest chapter in the family's demise. Her case also points to the importance of the Sinaloa Cartel as a criminal partner for Colombian drug trafficking organizations. There's been some recent reports that the Sinaloans are expanding their operations in Colombia, buying up the drug trafficking franchies once managed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, now that the guerrilla group is involved in peace negotiations with the government.
Asides from moving about 30 tons of cocaine on the Sinaloa Cartel's behalf, the Cifuentes Villa clan are also accused of helping the organization launder their cash. Dolly Cifuentes was accused of managing close to 50 businesses used to launder Sinaloa Cartel funds.