HomeNewsBrief'El Chapo Nephew Building Links to Colombian Gangs'
BRIEF

'El Chapo Nephew Building Links to Colombian Gangs'

COLOMBIA / 4 JAN 2013 BY HANNAH STONE EN

A relative of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has reportedly visited Colombia, seeking new business opportunities with the leaders of the Urabeños and Rastrojos criminal organizations.

According to intelligence sources cited by Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, either a nephew or cousin of "El Chapo," the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, has been networking with other criminal groups in Colombia. The suspect allegedly held meetings with Rastrojos leaders in northern Bogota to discuss building a business together in the synthetic drug trade.

According to the newspaper, Guzman's relative and his allies have also been meeting with Rastrojos and Urabeños leaders across the country, trying to build up a presence in key cocaine shipment points. These include the cities of Cali and Medellin, and their respective points of access to the sea: the Pacific port of Buenaventura, and the Caribbean region of Uraba.

InSight Crime Analysis

If El Tiempo's reports are correct, the Sinaloa Cartel is aiming to build up their connections with Colombia's two most powerful criminal groups, even though the two are rivals. This decision may have been influenced by the implosion of the Rastrojos in 2012. The gang's leader Javier Calle Serna, alias "Comba," handed himself in to the United States in May, and rival Diego Perez Henao, alias "Diego Rastrojo," was captured in Venezuela the following month. In October, Comba’s brother Luis Enrique also surrendered to the United States.

The Rastrojos have traditionally dominated the Pacific coast while rival group the Urabeños controlled much of the Caribbean. Now, with its major leaders gone, the Rastrojos' power is shaky. This is bad news for the Sinaloa Cartel, believed to deal mostly with the Rastrojos, as the decline of the Rastrojos could have left the Mexican cartel short of Colombian cocaine. The Urabeños, meanwhile, are believed to work primarily with Mexican group the Zetas

El Tiempo reports that a man known as "Pollo Bobo" (Stupid Chicken) is poised to become the Rastrojos' new commander, and is the main contact of Guzman’s relative. Pollo Bobo was named in June as a rising Rastrojos leader, as InSight Crime reported.

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