HomeNewsBriefUS Puts Colombia’s Oficina de Envigado on Kingpin List Despite Decline
BRIEF

US Puts Colombia’s Oficina de Envigado on Kingpin List Despite Decline

COLOMBIA / 27 JUN 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

US authorities have placed Colombia's Oficina de Envigado on its Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers list in spite of the group's decline in recent years, in what appears to be a recognition of the organization's role in providing secondary services for major drug trafficking groups and potential for expansion.    

On June 26, the US Department of Treasury designated the Oficina de Envigado under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. The designation means all of the group's assets in the United States will be frozen, and that US citizens and corporations face sanctions if they engage in business transactions with entities connected to the organization. 

In a press release, the Department of Treasury said its decision was based on the Medellin based organization's role in international drug trafficking and the services it offers for other criminal groups, including money laundering, extortion and assassinations. According to the Treasury, these services are not just offered to Colombian groups but also international organizations such as the Sinaloa Cartel.

InSight Crime Analysis

In recent years, the Oficina de Envigado has been torn apart by infighting, loss of leadership and war with the narco-paramilitaries known as the Urabeños, so in some ways it is surprising the Treasury has decided to take this action now. The fact that it has is likely related to the secondary services it provides drug traffickers and possibly to its potential for regaining lost influence in the world of transnational drug trafficking.

The Oficina currently operates as a horizontally organized confederation of criminal organizations without clearly defined hierarchical leadership. These "oficinas de cobro" (collection offices) facilitate drug trafficking and related activities by providing services for drug traffickers as well as squeezing criminal profits out of Medellin through micro-trafficking, extortion, prostitution, gambling, robberies and assassinations.

SEE ALSO: Oficina de Envigado Profile

At the height of its power, the Oficina was ruled by the fearsome kingpin Diego Murillo, alias "Don Berna," and had an extensive drug trafficking network stretching from the city of Medellin in northwestern Colombia to Panama. It also moved drug shipments through Central America and Jamaica to the United States.

However, after the extradition of Don Berna in 2008 sparked a bloody war of succession, the group lost many of its international trafficking contacts. These contacts were managed by Maximiliano Bonilla, alias "Valenciano." He lost the war and was arrested in 2011. 

In recent years, the Oficina has been locked into another bitter conflict with the Urabeños. However, in 2013 the two sides declared a truce and sources have told InSight Crime part of the deal involved cutting in the Oficina on the Urabeños international trafficking operations. If the truce holds, then the Oficina could yet live up to its Treasury designation.

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 OCT 2022

The re-opening of the Colombia-Venezuela border was a momentous occasion. But did it come too early?…

COCAINE / 2 MAR 2021

With higher profits and lower risks than the United States, Europe has emerged recently as arguably the most important cocaine…

COLOMBIA / 27 MAY 2022

The death of Colombian drug trafficker, alias Matamba, threatens to further unsettle the criminal dynamics of Nariño.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…