HomeNewsBriefColombian Doctor Accused of Faking Death of 3 Crime Bosses
BRIEF

Colombian Doctor Accused of Faking Death of 3 Crime Bosses

COLOMBIA / 8 AUG 2012 BY CLAIRE O'NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

A doctor and a notary’s office in Colombia allegedly helped at least three drug traffickers and paramilitary leaders fake their own deaths to avoid capture.

On August 7 Colombian police announced that the same doctor, Augusto Gallego, who faked the death certificate of drug kingpin Camilo Torres Martinez (pictured above) also provided fraudulent documents for at least two other wanted criminals.

Upon capturing Torres, alias “Fritanga,” on an island in the Caribbean in June, police were surprised to discover that the suspect had been officially declared dead.

The authorities also implicated a Bogota notary’s office in the scheme. In addition to issuing Torres’ fake documents, the office allegedly provided death certificates for multiple associates of Carlos Mario Jiménez Naranjo, alias “Macaco,” the extradited former leader of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). El Tiempo reports that Dr. Gallego signed death certificates for two men whose names and identification match those of José Alberto and Carlos Alberto Piedrahíta Zabala, two of Jimenez’s lieutenants who led the AUC’s operations in the southern department of Caqueta.

The doctor, who works at a hospital and owns a pharmacy in the department of Cundinamarca, maintains that he is innocent and that he was set up by a funeral home employee. Until the District Attorney’s Office issues a warrant for his arrest, he may continue to practice medicine.

InSight Crime Analysis

Although there are few known examples of criminals actually pulling it off, pretending to be dead is probably the best way for a drug trafficker to drop off the authorities’ radar. Torres, at least, made the mistake of continuing to live a flamboyant lifestyle after his supposed demise; police arrested him during his extravagant island wedding, which was attended by several Colombian celebrities.

Conspiracy theories about drug lords who faked their own death range from the absurd to the potentially plausible. After former head of the Juarez Cartel, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, died during a botched plastic surgery operation in 1997 that was later ruled a homicide, many Mexicans believed that the kingpin had staged his own death and was still at large. More recently, some have theorized that Familia Michoacana leader “El Chayo,” who was killed in a shootout with police in 2010 but whose body was never found, faked his death in order to clandestinely assume control of the Knights Templar.

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.

Tags

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 NOV 2021

As Colombia and Nicaragua continue battling over fishing rights and policing around the Caribbean archipelago of San Andrés, its waters…

COCA / 14 JUL 2021

Recently published data has shown that deforestation in Colombia soared last year, as a number of illegal activities drove forest…

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

The flow of cocaine to Europe may have suffered along with most licit businesses due to COVID-19.

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…