For decades, Colombia has been fighting an arduous battle against cocaine cartels, as drug lords use it as the main transit point for connecting major consumers in Europe and North America. Read our guide for more facts and information…
producer of cocaine in the world, and taking advantage of global integration, crime groups have expanded into drug markets. Though Mexican drug smugglers have focused more on American consumption, several drug networks from South America have developed consumer bases in various regions like Chile, China, South Africa and Egypt. Colombian drug lords indulge in bribery and blackmails to implement and increase their business.
The most notorious drug lord of Colombia
Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria is probably the most prominent of Colombian Drug Lords, and has been an elusive cocaine trafficker. He is recognized as the richest criminal in history, and with an estimated nine billion dollar fortune, Forbes Magazine declared him as the seventh richest in the world in 1989. Eighty percent of the world’s cocaine market was under the control of his Medellin Cartel. At one time, he even tried to gain entry into Colombian politics by offering to pay off the country’s ten billion dollar debt. He gained the support of the poor sector with some good deeds like building soccer fields and churches. Eventually, he was caught on 2nd December 1993, and killed in a gunfight with police.
Other famous drug lords of Columbia
Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia or Chupeta was caught in Brazil in August 2007, where he had landed after a clash with Wilber Varela, who commanded the Norte Del Valle Cartel. Diego Montoya or Don Diego was linked with Ivan Urdinola and Wilber Varela, and was on the second highest spot in the most wanted list of the United States. He controlled nearly seventy percent of illegal drug smuggling into the United States, and was eventually caught and punished with a 45-year prison sentence on 21 October 2009. Wilber Varela or Jabon was a Colombian Police agent before he joined the Norte Del Valle Cartel and became a drug lord. Daniel Rendon Herrera or Don Mario had been the second in charge of an AUC paramilitary group called Autodefensas Campesinas de Cordoba y Uraba.
Drug cartels have also corrupted government leaders and businesspersons, and several military leaders and congressmen were discovered to have collaborations with such cartels. However, under the President Alvaro Uribe’s office, drug cultivation has declined, and the US-backed war against armed groups of drug cartels has dawned hope for the restrictive drug policy. Crackdowns on maritime and aerial Caribbean drug trafficking routes have led traffickers to depend on land routes. Columbia appears to be indulging in a winnable war against drug trafficking.
Newer drug smuggling methods
Colombian traffickers have built fleets of submersibles, which can transport as much as a ton of cargo, which go undetected. They have discovered peculiar means to camouflage drugs, such as sewing them into the corpses or the bellies of pet animals. Though a kilogram or two may be intercepted, countless quantities go undetected. Apart from cocaine, traffickers also smuggle opium, heroin as well as marijuana that grows well in Colombia’s high tropical forests.
Colombia has been infamous for massive drug trafficking, and has the highest rate of kidnapping and murder, which have hampered several efforts made to clean its global image in order to spur foreign investment and tourism. The Colombian government has implemented Plan Colombia to gain an upper hand over the country, which is determined never to get overridden by drug lords.