HomeNewsBriefOld Generation Narcos Fuel Colombia’s New Mafia Wars
BRIEF

Old Generation Narcos Fuel Colombia's New Mafia Wars

COLOMBIA / 9 DEC 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Violence in Colombia's Pacific region is being driven not only by new generation BACRIM groups but also by drug traffickers from the long gone Cali Cartel, say security forces, as Colombia's past continues to cast a shadow over the modern drug trade.

The most recent outbreak of mafia wars in Valle del Cauca -- Colombia's most violent department -- is linked to a former member of the Cali Cartel who returned to Colombia last year, security forces sources told El Tiempo.

Only identified as "Señor de la R," the trafficker was deported from the United States after serving an 18-year prison sentence. On his return, he set up his own criminal organization and launched a war to reclaim control over drug trafficking routes and other criminal operations.

This brought him into conflict with the remnants of the Rastrojos, once the most powerful of Colombia's BACRIM (from "bandas criminales" or criminal bands) but now reduced to local factions after the surrender and arrest of their national leadership. According to El Tiempo, the Valle faction of the Rastrojos is led by a trafficker going by the name "Giovanny," who has built alliances with other criminal groups and drug traffickers in the region to try and rebuild.

To further complicate things, the Rastrojos' bitter enemies, the Machos, struck a deal with the Urabeños, paying for mercenary reinforcements. In doing so they strengthened their power while allowing the Urabeños a foothold in the region.

InSight Crime Analysis

"Señor de la R" -- who according to El Tiempo is a family member and close ally of Helmer "Pacho" Herrera who led the Cali Cartel -- is just the latest old generation drug trafficker to return to Valle to stake his claim to the region's underworld, following in the footsteps of Victor Patiño Fomeque, alias "El Quimico." Patiño, who worked with the Cali Cartel, then their successors, the Norte Del Valle Cartel (NDVC), also returned after a stint in a US prison. He is believed to have been the driving force behind a coalition of sons and relatives of former NDVC traffickers who united with the Urabeños to take on their old enemies in the Rastrojos.

However, it is not just in Valle where traffickers from Colombia's cocaine heyday of the 80s continue to make their mark. On the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) most wanted list appear two Colombians with no legal history within the country. Although they have left little trace of their past, they are also believed to be linked to the old generation of cartels, with one an alleged Medellin Cartel money launderer.

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 / 25 JAN 2012

Ecuador's President Rafeal Correa announced that 12 South African-built Cheetah fighter-bombers would arrive in the country this year.

COLOMBIA / 15 JAN 2019

Tourism agencies and taxi cooperatives are the newest fronts being used to hide migrants smuggling at the border between Venezuela…

COLOMBIA / 1 AUG 2017

Colombia's FARC guerrillas are just weeks away from completing their demobilization, but reports of arms thefts, drug trafficking, forced recruitment…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Collaborating on Citizen Security Initiatives

8 JUN 2021

Co-director Steven Dudley worked with Chemonics, a DC-based development firm, to analyze the organization’s citizen security programs in Mexico.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Deepens Its Connections with Universities

31 MAY 2021

A partnership with the University for Peace will complement InSight Crime’s research methodology and expertise on Costa Rica.

THE ORGANIZATION

With Support from USAID, InSight Crime Will Investigate Organized Crime in Haiti

31 MAY 2021

The project will seek to map out Haiti's principal criminal economies, profile the specific groups and actors, and detail their links to elements of the state.

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.