HomeNewsBriefFormer Colombia Governor and Alleged Criminal Boss Nearly Released
BRIEF

Former Colombia Governor and Alleged Criminal Boss Nearly Released

COLOMBIA / 16 APR 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

A former Colombia governor accused of several murders and links to paramilitary groups came very close to being freed from jail, a reminder of the scope of the influence this ex-official once wielded in the country’s northeast.

A judge in the city of Barranquilla recently accepted a habeas corpus request from Juan Francisco “Kiko” Gomez, which would have freed the former governor of Colombia’s northeast La Guajira province, reported El Tiempo. However, authorities refused to release Gomez because of a standing warrant for his arrest and a summons for questioning involving a murder case, reported El Espectador.

Gomez was captured in October 2013 for his alleged involvement in a string of murders and other crimes committed over a period of several decades. Gomez allegedly worked closely with Marcos “Marquitos” Figueroa, the leader of a contraband smuggling network, who was the most wanted criminal figure in northeast Colombia before his capture in October 2014.

Colombia’s Attorney General’s Office has opened an investigation into the judge who ordered Gomez’s release, reported Semana.

InSight Crime Analysis

Gomez’s near release from prison is likely a reflection of the amount of power he wielded as a corrupt politician in Colombia’s northeast, the epicenter of a lucrative contraband trade fueled by products from Venezuela. Gomez was a career politician who — from a young age — allegedly mixed with local criminal figures, including Marquitos, and established a stake in the regional contraband trade. In 2001, Gomez was among a group of local contraband bosses who reportedly began negotiations with paramilitary groups to divvy up control of smuggling operations. However, Gomez would only reach the height of his power years later with the help of his former partner, Marquitos. 

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profiles

When Marquitos returned to Colombia at some point after 2008 — following a self-imposed exile to Venezuela — the two allegedly killed off numerous political opponents in the region, according to prosecutors. Marquitos also allegedly used proceeds from his thriving contraband gasoline enterprise to help fund Gomez’s 2011 gubernatorial campaign. Once in office, Gomez reportedly repaid Marquitos by providing him with political protection for his contraband business.

According to El Espectador, Gomez is currently under investigation for seven murders, including that of a former mayor in La Guajira. He has been implicated in a number of other homicides as well. 

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 26 JAN 2017

Recent reports warn that one of Colombia's biggest criminal groups may be recruiting dissident guerrilla fighters, another indication that new…

BARRIO 18 / 4 NOV 2015

Organized crime has become deeply embedded in Latin culture, and its terminology has been incorporated into everyday language, indeed now…

ELITES AND CRIME / 23 MAY 2019

New US sanctions against a former Mexican state governor and a top magistrate for links to the Jalisco Cartel has…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…