HomeNewsBriefHistoric Argentina Drug Trafficking Trial Begins with FIFA Accusations
BRIEF

Historic Argentina Drug Trafficking Trial Begins with FIFA Accusations

ARGENTINA / 12 JUN 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

The "White Charcoal" drug trafficking trial in Argentina has begun with allegations one of the accused worked as a frontman for a former FIFA chief, adding a new dimension to a case that has become emblematic of Argentina's evolving drug trade.  

During the first day of oral trial in what has become known as the "White Charcoal" case -- named for the product traffickers used to disguise smuggled cocaine -- one of the trafficking network's alleged ring leaders surprised observers by saying that before his detention he had worked for Julio Grondona, a former president of the Argentine Football Association and Vice President of FIFA, the sport's world governing body. When pressed afterwards by La Nacion, Patricio Gorosito said he had been the "frontman" for the now deceased Grondona, who used Gorosito to disguise his soccer business interests. 

Gorosito, who was the alleged principal operator in Europe for a drug trafficking network thought to be responsible for the shipment of more than one ton of cocaine from Argentina to Portugal, is known as the founder of the Argentine soccer club Real Arroyo Seco. However, he told La Nacion, in reality the team "belonged to Grondona." He added that when he later sold the club, although he retained a fee the bulk of the money went to Grondona.

The White Charcoal case was also generating headlines before the trial had even started. A federal judge in charge of investigating the case recently stated she had been offered two bribes for a total of $4.5 million in order to not continue with the probe.

InSight Crime Analysis

The White Charcoal case is one of the most significant investigations into homegrown drug trafficking networks Argentina has witnessed yet, and has already done much to reveal the sophisticated networks that are springing up to capitalize on the country's role as a cocaine transit route. If Gorosito's allegations prove true, his declarations would reveal yet another influential Argentine with connections to the case, which has already exposed a web of seemingly legitimate businessmen and the front businesses they used to disguise drug shipments and launder the profits.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Soccer Crime

However, Gorosito's comments about Grondona may also have simply been an attempt to deflect attention away from his own wrongdoings, with Grondona an easy target for blame as he passed away in July 2014. FIFA -- which is still reeling from a massive corruption scandal -- has also recently dragged Grondona's name through the mud by saying he had authorized a $10 million bribe to soccer officials.

The large sum of money allegedly offered as bribes to the judge in the White Charcoal investigation is further indication of the power and wealth the network had garnered -- enough for those behind it to hope to buy their way out of trouble despite the case's high profile.

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

ARGENTINA / 30 SEP 2011

Reports from Argentina claim that a member of Mexican drug gang the Zetas has been arrested the country, after…

ARGENTINA / 19 MAY 2014

Authorities in Argentina have disbanded a group linked to the Sinaloa Cartel that trafficked liquid cocaine from Argentina to Mexico,…

ARGENTINA / 23 MAY 2012

Argentine authorities disabled an explosive device apparently aimed at Colombian ex-President Alvaro Uribe, who is currently visiting the country, days…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…