HomeNewsBriefSinaloa Cartel, FARC Network Dismantled in Panama
BRIEF

Sinaloa Cartel, FARC Network Dismantled in Panama

FARC / 5 NOV 2015 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Authorities in Panama say they have dismantled a criminal network run by Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel and Colombia's FARC guerrillas, offering further evidence of how the Mexican criminal group has built ties with Colombian rebels in order to advance their drug trafficking interests.

Panamanian Security Minister Rodolfo Aguilera and National Police Commissioner Omar Pinzon told media that Colombian and Mexican police have broken up a criminal network involving the Sinaloa Cartel and the 30th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), reported the BBC.

The investigation into the criminal network began 18 months ago and has resulted in the seizure of half a ton of cocaine, several vehicles and properties, and the arrests of 50 people, reported EFE.

According to the officials, the key link between the Sinaloa Cartel and the FARC was a Mexican couple living in Panama. Officials also commented that the criminal network was led by Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Panama-based network provides the latest evidence that the Sinaloa Cartel is seeking to expand its influence in Colombia and assert more control over the downstream supply of cocaine.

Numerous cases suggest the Mexicans see the FARC as a crucial part of this strategy. In many ways, the rebels make for ideal partners as they monopolize control of coca crops and coca base in areas they control and thus can help the Mexicans access a supply right from the source.

Additionally, there is a strong possibility the guerrillas will demobilize next year. This opens up an opportunity for other criminal groups to take over the FARC's role in the drug trade. If the Sinaloa Cartel steps up and fills this gap, they would be able to assert more control over where and how they source cocaine shipments. Not only would this lead to higher profits for the Sinaloans, it would allow them to better control the quality and reliability of supply.

SEE ALSO: The FARC, Peace, and Possible Criminalization

The FARC's 30th Front is active around the Pacific coast port city of Buenaventura, a major dispatch point for trafficking cocaine to Central America. Last year, there were numerous reports suggesting the Sinaloans were attempting to establish a presence in the city, and were even responsible for several murders. These latest reports add weight to reports that the troubled city is seen as an important territory for the cartel.

However, there must be some doubt over whether, as claimed, El Chapo personally oversaw the operations. There is a tendency among both the media and authorities to conflate any Sinaloa Cartel activity with the personal actions of its most visible leader, but as his recent stint in prison demonstrated, the cartel's operations appear to function smoothly without El Chapo's day to day involvement.

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

AUC / 16 JUL 2021

One of Colombia's foremost drug traffickers and money launderers has been assassinated in Bogotá, leaving important unanswered questions about his…

ELITES AND CRIME / 13 OCT 2021

The photos showed five dead bodies laid out in the dirt, each with a gun or grenade close to an…

AUC / 8 SEP 2021

As gold prices have skyrocketed, criminal groups once solely dedicated to the trafficking of drugs and arms have moved into…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…