HomeNewsBriefNew Colombian Addition to 'Kingpin List' Paid Off FARC in Venezuela
BRIEF

New Colombian Addition to 'Kingpin List' Paid Off FARC in Venezuela

COLOMBIA / 26 FEB 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

The latest addition to the United States' "kingpin list" is a low-profile but influential Colombian cocaine trafficker, whose nexus of alliances shines a light on the central role played by FARC guerrillas in trafficking through Venezuela.

Jose Evaristo Linares Castillo, alias "Don Evaristo," was arrested in the eastern department of Meta in May 2012 and is currently facing extradition to the United States.

According to US authorities, Don Evaristo worked in the cocaine trade for over 20 years and was a close ally of the region's principal traffickers, Daniel "El Loco" Barrera, who was arrested in 2012; and Pedro Oliveiro Guerrero, alias "Cuchillo," leader of the Popular Revolutionary Anti-Terrorist Army (ERPAC), who was killed in 2010.

Don Evaristo's main method involved sending shipments of 500-1,000 kilos of cocaine by air from the Apure region in Venezuela to Honduras or Guatemala, where local criminal groups moved the loads on to his contacts in Mexican groups such as the Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel, according to the Treasury and the US indictment against him.

To move his shipments out of Venezuela, Don Evaristo had to make large payments to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which has a heavy presence in Apure, for use of airstrips in the region, the extradition request claims (see document below).

InSight Crime Analysis

Don Evaristo appears to have been part of the now mostly dismantled network of Eastern Plains traffickers that was dominated by kingpin Daniel "El Loco" Barrera, the FARC and ERPAC.

With El Loco and Don Evaristo in prison and ERPAC in tatters following the death of Cuchillo, a partial demobilization and constant infighting, the region is in flux, and the battle for control of its lucrative trafficking routes has sparked a new wave of violence.

The one constant has been the role of the FARC, which not only facilitates and taxes trafficking but also controls much of the coca cultivation and production of coca base in the region. The United States' claim that the FARC also controls airstrips on the Venezuelan side of the border is more evidence that the guerrillas not only have a strong presence and key role in trafficking activities on the Colombian side of the border but also on the Venezuelan side -- a politically sensitive issue for the governments of the two countries.

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 / 11 FEB 2011

Members of one of the most militarized drug-trafficking groups in Colombia are now being recruited by the Revolutionary Armed Forces…

COLOMBIA / 5 FEB 2013

Colombia's second-largest guerrilla group the ELN announced the kidnap of two German citizens in the Venezuelan border region, in…

COLOMBIA / 30 JAN 2014

Colombia and Venezuela are to launch a new anti-smuggling initiative in an attempt to crack down on the huge…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.