HomeNewsBriefLegend of Colombia Narco-Guerrilla Grows in Death
BRIEF

Legend of Colombia Narco-Guerrilla Grows in Death

COLOMBIA / 22 OCT 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Locals in eastern Colombia have reportedly hidden the remains of recently killed narco-guerrilla "Megateo" and built a shrine in his honor, adding to the legend of a drug trafficker whose elusiveness was closely linked to the mystique and support he generated in communities where he operated.

Sources close to the case say bodyguards for Victor Ramon Navarro Serrano, alias "Megateo," the leader of the drug running remnants of guerrilla group the People's Liberation Army (EPL), escaped with his head and various other body parts following his death during a recent security operation, reported El Tiempo. Authorities have reportedly only been able to recover one of Megateo's legs, which they have sent to Colombia's forensic authority, Medicina Legal.

This lack of physical evidence has made it difficult to confirm Megateo's death; General Rodolfo Palomino, the director of Colombia's National Police, said that it will be "impossible" to establish that the narco-guerrilla was killed until a family member comes forward to identify him, reported El Espectador. However, Palomonio added that intelligence reports make it clear that Megateo was in fact killed during the security raid.   

The unidentified sources also told El Tiempo that family members, supporters and close associates in his stronghold of the department of Norte de Santander have built an altar to pay respects to the fallen leader. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The reported efforts to preserve Megateo's body parts and build him an altar enhance his image as a modern-day "Robin Hood" in the under-developed region of Catatumbo, where the guerrilla leader constructed a cocaine smuggling empire. Authorities say Megateo had used his riches to renovate the central square of the town he was living in, and he also reportedly handed out school supplies and Christmas gifts to the locals. 

SEE ALSO: Profile of Megateo

But Megateo's charitable donations were not motivated purely by altruism. The admiration he earned within these communities enabled him to build a network of informants that helped him evade capture for years, despite heavy pressure from security forces. Megateo was rumored to have been killed in August when 300 special forces clashed with guerrilla fighters, but he managed to escape the firefight.

The lingering doubts over his death caused by the authorities' inability to find his corpse may mean Megateo's mystique endures even now. As numerous past cases indicate, mysterious deaths and disappearing bodies create narco-consiracy theories, which, every now and again, even prove to be true.

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 / 21 MAR 2019

Colombian authorities have discovered that an important water resource is under threat from illegal mining in a rural area of…

COLOMBIA / 9 AUG 2017

Venezuelans fleeing the nation's political and economic crisis are boosting both criminal profits and the sources of cheap labor for…

ÁGUILAS NEGRAS / 1 NOV 2011

A TV special by PBS details the threats community activists in Colombia face from armed groups, as they try to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…