HomeNewsBriefColombian Mafia Debt Collector Cuts Deal with US
BRIEF

Colombian Mafia Debt Collector Cuts Deal with US

COLOMBIA / 10 AUG 2015 BY ARRON DAUGHERTY EN

A United States court convicted Colombian organized crime leader Fredy Alonzo Mira Perez, alias "Fredy Colas," to seven years in prison, in what was likely a reduced prison sentence in exchange for intelligence about his organization, the Oficina de Envigado.

In April, Fredy Colas, a high-ranking member of Medellin-based criminal group the Oficina de Envigado, pled guilty to drug trafficking charges, according to the US Justice Department.

Between 2012 and 2014, Fredy Colas acted as the Oficina's primary debt collector. His duties included investing in drug shipments, collecting payments for criminals in Colombia and Mexico, and determining financial responsibility for drug shipments seized by authorities. 

The Oficina de Envigado is a criminal group that traces its roots back to Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel. It has long been based in Colombia's second-largest city, although it has suffered significant blows and seen much of its top leadership arrested or blacklisted by the US Department of Treasury

InSight Crime Analysis

Extraditing Fredy Colas to face justice in the US may have been the best approach -- he had been captured and released in Colombia twice, due to lack of evidence.

SEE ALSO:  Oficina de Envigado News and Profiles

However, Colombia's extradition policy also involves significant drawbacks when it comes to dispersing justice. Drug traffickers have arguably come to see sentencing for drug trafficking crimes in the US as the easier option, as this allows them to avoid being tried for human rights crimes committed during Colombia's ongoing internal conflict.

It is also up to the US to convince collaborators that, in exchange for useful intelligence, the US will not only offer a shorter prison sentence, but protection for whatever may follow afterwards. In seven years, Fredy Colas could be a free man once again, at which point his former associates may seek retribution for his cooperation with authorities. On the flip side, Fredy Colas could return to Colombia's underworld with a vengeance, as noted Colombian drug trafficker Victor Patiño Fomeque did several years ago. 

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