HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Extradites Captured Rastrojos Leader to Colombia
BRIEF

Venezuela Extradites Captured Rastrojos Leader to Colombia

DIEGO RASTROJO / 8 AUG 2012 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

Venezuela extradited the military leader of drug trafficking organization the Rastrojos to his native Colombia, though it is not yet clear whether he will be extradited to the US to face drug trafficking charges.

On July 24, Diego Perez Henao, alias “Diego Rastrojo,” was handed over to Colombian intelligence police the DIJIN in the Venezuelan port city of Maiquetía. Perez was arrested in the central Venezuelan state of Barinas on June 3, where authorities said he had been living for about a year.

He was detained just one month after the Rastrojos’ other top leader, Javier Calle Serna, alias “Comba,” surrendered to US authorities.

Henao was the leader of the military wing of the Rastrojos, descendants of the Norte del Valle Cartel in Cali, Colombia. The Rastrojos are considered one of the wealthiest and most powerful of Colombia’s drug trafficking organizations and are active primarily along the Pacific Coast and the eastern Venezuela-Colombia border.

InSight Crime Analysis

Colombian authorities have still not decided whether Henao will be extradited to the US where he faces drug trafficking charges, or whether he should remain in Colombia where he is charged with homicide, the financing of terrorism, and supporting an armed group, among other crimes. While Colombia has relied heavily on extraditions in the past as a way to break up criminal organizations, former Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra implied earlier this year that the government may soon re-assess this strategy, due to concerns that extradited Colombian crime lords receive shorter prison sentences in the US.

But if Diego Rastrojo remains in Colombia, this could raise concerns that he would continue to run some part of the Rastrojos’ business from behind bars.

Contrary to fears there have so far been few signs of a violent power struggle within the Rastrojos, despite the fall of two of its leaders. The only original leader that remains is Luis Enrique Calle Serna, who is currently fighting a war against remnants of the Norte del Valle Cartel in Cali, as well as the Rastrojos’ long-time rivals the Urabeños.

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 / 16 FEB 2012

Police confiscated a 3.6 ton load of extra-potent marijuana in the southwest Valle del Cauca department, a plant which is…

HUMAN RIGHTS / 16 JAN 2019

Members of Venezuela’s political police detained and later freed the country’s new president of Parliament in an event that resembled…

GOLD / 24 DEC 2018

Dozens of massacres and a sprawling organized crime structure are behind a recent alliance between the governments of Venezuela and…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…