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 / 18 NOV 2014

A police raid on a luxury mansion in Brazil in late October brought the era of Marquitos and Kiko crashing…

BRAZIL / 24 MAR 2020

Fears of contagion amid the coronavirus pandemic have spurred deadly riots, mass breakouts, and crackdowns in several Latin American prisons,…

COLOMBIA / 6 DEC 2011

Medellin's former crime boss 'Valenciano' is set to be extradited to the U.S., while his former allies the Urabeños appear…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…