HomeNewsBriefIs Ecuador’s ‘Pablo Escobar’ a Member of Colombia’s FARC?
BRIEF

Is Ecuador's 'Pablo Escobar' a Member of Colombia's FARC?

COLOMBIA / 19 SEP 2017 BY TRISTAN CLAVEL EN

A jailed Ecuadorean drug capo is claiming to be a member of Colombia's demobilized FARC guerrilla group in order to receive judicial benefits offered to former fighters under a 2016 peace agreement. But simply appearing on the FARC's membership list may not be enough to prove association with the group, raising questions about how to verify who should be allowed to take advantage of the peace process, and who should not.

Washington Prado Alava, who was dubbed the "Pablo Escobar" of Ecuador after his arrest in Colombia earlier this year, is attempting to block his extradition to the United States in Colombia's Supreme Court by claiming he is a member of the demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC), El Tiempo reported on September 16.

The peace deal signed with the FARC last year promised members of the group they would not be extradited. Prado's claim to FARC membership is reportedly based on a letter confirming him as such, which was signed by Gustavo González, alias "Rambo," the former head of the FARC's Daniel Aldana Mobile Column. Prado's lawyers have asked the Supreme Court to call on González to confirm the claims.

Prado stands accused of heading the most powerful criminal organization on the Colombian and Ecuadorean Pacific Coast. Unknown to the public until his arrest, Prado allegedly shipped 250 metric tons of cocaine to the US Pacific Coast, according to US and Colombian authorities. His purchase of coca from the Daniel Aldana Mobile Column was reportedly documented, but official intelligence did not show Prado as a FARC member.

InSight Crime Analysis

Prado's case points to the FARC's complex ties with the drug trade, which at times can blur the lines between a guerrilla fighter and a trafficker. Indeed, it is interesting that Prado's membership claims are linked to the Daniel Aldana Mobile Column, formerly one of the FARC's most powerful structures.

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profiles

The Prado case also shows the difficult position in which the FARC have found themselves with respect to the peace agreement. As pointed out by El Tiempo, declaring the Ecuadorean capo as a member of the guerrilla group would mean taking responsibility for the 250 metric tons of cocaine he allegedly shipped, a problematic admission of guilt for an organization that maintains its involvement in the drug trade stayed inside Colombian borders.

Denying Prado's claim, on the other hand, will no doubt fuel suspicion that mid-ranking FARC members were involved in wrongfully slipping traffickers into FARC membership lists so that they could improperly take advantage of the provisions of the peace deal. The FARC have previously stated that the group's membership lists will be vetted intensively, arguing that the two dozen other cases like Prado's will be resolved. However, the group has not publicly commented on Prado's case specifically, suggesting that the organization may be debating internally about the best way to handle it.

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 / 18 FEB 2014

Guatemala has extradited a woman reported to have served as a link between Colombia's rebels and international drug trafficking organizations,…

COLOMBIA / 13 APR 2012

As the Sixth Summit of the Americas approaches, US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have made…

COLOMBIA / 27 JAN 2016

Venezuela's capital city of Caracas has reportedly overtaken Honduras' San Pedro Sula to become the most violent city in the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.