HomeNewsBriefDrug Dealers Masqueraded as FARC to Enter Colombia's Peace Process
BRIEF

Drug Dealers Masqueraded as FARC to Enter Colombia's Peace Process

COLOMBIA / 14 MAY 2019 BY ANGELA OLAYA EN

The capture of a former FARC leader in Colombia has revealed how he tried to falsely enlist drug traffickers within the country's peace process, registering them as guerrillas having laid down their arms in order to grant them legal protection.

Luis Eduardo Carvajal, alias Rambo, was an influential leader among the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC) prior to his capture in July 2018.

He is known to have charged millions of dollars to drug traffickers in order to register them as former FARC members with the Colombian Special Jurisdiction for Peace (Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz – JEP).

SEE ALSO: Coverage of FARC Peace Process

The most important of these cases concerns Olindo Perlaza Caicedo, alias Olindillo, who paid 1 million dollars to Rambo to benefit from the JEP’s non-extradition guarantee for crimes committed by the guerrillas prior to the 2016 peace agreement. Olindillo was captured last week.

By April 2019, the JEP had identified and expelled 43 individuals proven to have claimed false ties to the FARC, turning their cases over to the Attorney General's Office.

Colombia's High Commissioner for Peace, Miguel Ceballos, said that an investigation by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Colombian police had found some of the "largest drug traffickers in the world" hiding within the JEP system, Red Noticias reported.

Rambo, a former commander of the FARC's Daniel Aldana mobile column, is now facing extradition to the United States on charges of obstructing justice.

InSight Crime Analysis

The fear of drug traffickers unrelated to the FARC obtaining protection under the JEP has been a long-term source of concern. While drug trafficking is booming in Colombia and the country is producing more cocaine than ever before, those behind the drug trade are increasingly keeping a low profile.

At least six drug traffickers were found to have been included on the initial listings of FARC members within the JEP. They were all involved in the production, processing and shipping of cocaine overseas. And entering the JEP allowed them a window of opportunity to continue their criminal activities without legal persecution.

These targets were rapidly identified, expelled from the program and are being investigated by the Attorney General's Office. Some have already been captured, had their assets seized and are facing extradition.

SEE ALSO: 3 Obstacles for Transitional Justice in Colombia

But the involvement of individuals such as Rambo shows how those with the right underworld connections were able to turn this into a business opportunity.

One drug trafficker, Segundo Villota, managed to obtain fake intelligence reports, falsified battle plans from the FARC's Eastern Bloc and even a doctored organization chart to try and prove he was a former guerrilla fighter.

These efforts appear to have largely been unsuccessful. The JEP appears to have moved swiftly in verifying these individuals' status, expelling them and arresting them, if possible.

A number of drug traffickers who failed to enter the JEP are now facing extradition to the United States, sending a stark message about the severity of the sanctions any others could face.

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 / 28 MAR 2017

Authorities arrested a former leader of a now dissolved Colombian drug trafficking organization, a sign that the group's legacy in…

ECUADOR / 8 AUG 2012

Ecuadorean authorities seized an illegal shipment of weapons allegedly destined for the FARC that included anti-aircraft munitions and sub-machine guns,…

COLOMBIA / 22 APR 2015

A former top official for Colombia's customs agency reportedly increased his wealth exponentially by collaborating with smugglers, allegations that, if true,…

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.