HomeNewsBriefColombian Criminal Arrest Reminder of Dissolved Cartel’s Influence
BRIEF

Colombian Criminal Arrest Reminder of Dissolved Cartel’s Influence

COLOMBIA / 28 MAR 2017 BY LEONARDO GOI EN

Authorities arrested a former leader of a now dissolved Colombian drug trafficking organization, a sign that the group's legacy in the country's underworld lives on. 

A joint operation carried out by Interpol and Colombian authorities led to the capture of José Orlando Sánchez Cristancho on March 26 in Facatativá, in Colombia's Cundinamarca department, reported El Tiempo.

Sánchez, better known under the alias of "El Hombre del Overol" ("The Man in Overalls"), was allegedly one of the leaders of the Norte del Valle Cartel (NDVC), a powerful Colombian drug trafficking group that emerged out of the ashes of the infamous Cali cartel.

Sánchez had already been arrested in June 2001 in Florida on money laundering conspiracy charges. He served 63 months (a little over 5 years) in prison and 3 years on bail in the United States. Once returned to Colombia, authorities believe Sánchez resumed his criminal activities, and his name appeared on Interpol's "Red Notices" list.

A district court in Florida has requested his extradition to face charges related to money laundering and bank fraud.

InSight Crime Analysis

Sánchez's arrest can be read as a sign that the legacy and influence of the NDVC continues to influence Colombia's criminal map, even though much of the criminal network has been dismantled. 

Authorities claim Sánchez had been one of the NDVC's leaders, but there appears to be some confusion around his nickname -- "The Man in Overalls." Without downplaying Sánchez's importance within the group, evidence suggests the cartel's founder, Orlando Henao Montoya (now deceased), went by the same pseudonym.

SEE ALSO: Norte del Valle Cartel Profile

The NDVC originated from the breakup of the Cali cartel, and went on to become one of the wealthiest drug trafficking groups in the country. Estimates from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States indicate that, at its height, the cartel was responsible for 60 percent of the cocaine shipped to the United States. Internal fights and treachery led to the group's implosion: by 2010, most of the NDVC leadership had either been killed or captured.

NDVC splinter groups eventually gave rise to and became part of several new, independent criminal organizations, including the Rastrojos and Urabeños.

Sánchez is not the first NDVC member to have returned to Colombia after having served his sentence in the United States. Victor Patiño Fomeque, alias "El Quimico," (the Chemist) was another prominent figure within the group who negotiated his surrender with US authorities, and eventually returned to Colombia, where authorities believe he may have returned to his criminal activities.

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 / 7 APR 2021

Illegal gold mining is devastating South America's jungles. The trade has been destroying large swaths of forest and flooding rivers…

COLOMBIA / 15 JUL 2021

A convicted cocaine trafficker is among the suspects that authorities in Haiti are pursuing in connection to the middle-of-the-night murder…

COLOMBIA / 29 JUL 2021

Colombia’s announcement of a large-scale military deployment to Norte de Santander, one of its most complex criminal hotspots, has thrust…

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…