HomeNewsBriefFormer Pablo Escobar Associate Killed in Medellín, Colombia
BRIEF

Former Pablo Escobar Associate Killed in Medellín, Colombia

COLOMBIA / 25 APR 2017 BY LEONARDO GOI EN

A former associate of Pablo Escobar was killed in Colombia's second-largest city, leading to speculation that he continued to traffic drugs long after the fall of the Medellín Cartel.

José Antonio Ocampo, alias "Pelusa," was murdered in Medellín on April 22, reported Semana. Pelusa had allegedly served as a key associate of Pablo Escobar's now-defunct Medellín Cartel.

Pelusa had been captured by Colombian authorities at an estate in Necoclí, in the department of Antioquia, in December 1989. At the time, the police described him as one of the most important figures in the Medellín cartel, the New York Times reported.

In June 1992, however, Pelusa reportedly survived an attempt on his life by Escobar, and eventually joined the infamous "Doce del Patíbulo," a group of drug traffickers who fought the Medellín Cartel's leader until his death in December 1993, according to Ruta Noticias.   

After the cartel's fall, Pelusa's presence in Antioquia, particularly in the Urabá region, was reportedly linked with right-wing paramilitary groups, and eventually the Urabeños, now Colombia's most powerful drug trafficking organization.

Pelusa was reportedly shot by unidentified men at a gas station along the Via de Las Palmas, in Medellín. The city's security secretary, Gustavo Villegas, said there were no outstanding charges against him, reported Noticias Caracol.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Medellín Cartel was significantly weakened following Escobar's death in 1993, but many associates of the legendary drug lord continued to successfully operate undetected in subsequent years. Pelusa appears to have been one of them.

However, Pelusa was not a high-profile figure like Escobar. Rather, it is more likely that he was an "invisible" -- a term used to describe long-time drug traffickers who survived the fall of the Colombian cartels and continued working with various organized crime groups in the country.

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profiles

Other Colombian traffickers have followed the same strategy. For example, Juan Carlos Mesa Vallejo, alias "Tom," rose from being a mid-level gangster in a criminal organization known as Los Chatas to one of the leaders of the Oficina de Envigado, which is considered a successor to the Medellín Cartel. The US Treasury Department believes Tom now works as the main link between the Oficina and the Urabeños, and is responsible for managing the relationships between the two groups.

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

BRAZIL / 7 MAY 2019

Despite a steep drop in their overall value over the last 18 months and a raft of interdictions by Latin…

COLOMBIA / 31 MAY 2016

A massive security operation in Bogotá's nefarious Bronx neighborhood reveals how powerful microtrafficking gangs in the city have become --…

ARGENTINA / 2 OCT 2017

An investigation with ramifications across the Americas has culminated in the arrest of an old-school Colombian drug trafficker who managed…

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.