Colombian police have arrested a man who is accused of being the Gulf Cartel's top man in South America.
Police captured Andres Vieda Duque, known as "El Duque," and two of his subordinates in raids in three Colombian cities, according to a press release. Police believe that Duque, a Colombian national, was in charge of the South American operations of the Mexico-based cartel.
According to the police, El Duque had also taken on the task of managing drug shipments from Central America following the arrest of another Gulf member. Juan Manuel Garcia, the right-hand man to Gulf Cartel boss Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez (alias “El Coss”), who had been in charge of drug shipments from Central America, was arrested in Costa Rica on July 5. El Duque had made at least 14 trips to Panama in the last year, according to the authorities.
Two subordinates arrested in the same operation handled drug transport and finances for the cartel’s Colombian enterprises, authorities said.
InSight Crime Analysis
The Colombian arrests show that the Gulf Cartel, one of Mexico’s oldest criminal groups and which has suffered serious blows in recent years, continues to manage international drug trafficking networks.
According to the police, the group ships cocaine from Colombia to Panama, Costa Rica, or Guatemala, then moves it north overland to Gulf strongholds on the Mexico-US border. The shipments are of 500 kg, on average.
El Duque's arrest could be a serious blow to the Gulf's international operations, if the police are correct in saying that he was coordinating shipments from Colombia and then onwards from Central America.