Colombian media reports that "Mi Sangre," boss of the Urabeños drug gang and a major player in Medellin's underworld, is currently in Argentina, in further evidence of the country's importance as a hideout for Colombian criminals.
W Radio reported Thursday that Henry de Jesus Lopez, alias "Mi Sangre," was known to be hiding out in Argentina, and that this had prompted Colombian prosecutors to issue a warrant for his arrest days before. According to the station, Colombian authorities are tracking the drug boss' trail in Argentina.
Earlier in the week the authorities announced the arrest of a man accused of being in charge of Mi Sangre's finances -- Edison Gomez Molin, alias "El Contador."
Police General Carlos Ramiro Mena said that US authorities had confirmed they were working on an extradition request for Mi Sangre, reports El Tiempo. International police agency Interpol, meanwhile, has issued a red notice for his arrest.
InSight Crime Analysis
Mi Sangre is thought to be one of the most powerful traffickers in Colombia, due to his connections with both the Medellin Oficina de Envigado and the Urabeños.
However, until now Colombian authorities had not been able to gather enough evidence to issue an arrest warrant against him. This is despite the fact that he has been heavily involved with the drug trafficking business for many years, after starting out working for Oficina boss Diego Murillo, alias "Don Berna," in the 1990s.
There have been reports that Mi Sangre is seeking a deal to surrender to the US. However, the fact that his power is rapidly growing would offer a strong disincentive for him to do this, especially now that a leader of the rival Rastrojos gang has turned himself in, leaving the field open.
If Mi Sangre is currently located in Argentina, as W Radio claimed, he would be following the example of other top Colombian drug traffickers and paramilitaries. Unlike in the days of Pablo Escobar, many of Colombia's most wanted men now base themselves outside the country in order to avoid arrest. For example, Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco, alias "Valenciano," a Medellin mafia boss and old associate of Mi Sangre, was arrested in the Venezuelan city of Maracay. Meanwhile Rastrojos boss Javier Calle Serna, alias "Comba," reportedly negotiated his recent surrender to the US while based in Argentina.
Mi Sangre has spent time in Argentina before -- he fled there after a 2007 attempt to seize power in Medellin went wrong, returning in 2008 once Don Berna had been extradited to the US.