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'Mi Sangre' Previously Arrested, Released in Argentina

Police present Mi Sangre to Argentine press after his capture Police present Mi Sangre to Argentine press after his capture

New details have emerged about the capture of Urabeños leader Henry de Jesus Lopez, alias "Mi Sangre," in Buenos Aires, including the fact that Argentine officials had previously arrested and then released the accused drug trafficker in May.

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According to the head of Colombia's judicial police (DIJIN), General Carlos Ramiro, the October 30 arrest of Mi Sangre was not the first time that the Urabeños boss had been detained in Argentina. Ramiro told Colombian press that Jesus Lopez had actually been taken into police custody in May on the basis of an Interpol notice requesting information on his whereabouts. But Argentine police had to release him because it did not yet include a warrant for his arrest.

Police intelligence officials kept tabs on him, however, placing GPS tracking devices on five of his automobiles to monitor his movement. On the day of his arrest, officials say Mi Sangre was planning on meeting with a representative of an unspecified Mexican crime syndicate. 

Subsequent reports on Mi Sangre's activities in Buenos Aires suggest that he had a high degree of mobility. El Tiempo reports that Jesus Lopez held false passports from seven different countries: Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Uruguay, Mexico and Paraguay.

InSight Crime Analysis

One question is why Mi Sangre continued to live in Argentina after his arrest in May, when he knew that officials had located him. Considering his freedom of movement, the fact that he chose not to use his false identification to relocate permanently elsewhere is puzzling. It suggests he felt safe in Argentina despite his prior arrest, perhaps believing he had an "understanding" with local authorities.

This would fit with reports of deeply-entrenched corruption among police in Argentina, a trend which has proven to be resistant to government attempts at reform. It also would confirm Argentina's emerging status as a popular hideout for Colombian drug traffickers looking to evade law enforcement.

Mi Sangre's frequent presence in Uruguay is concerning as well, as officials there have grown more concerned about the influence of foreign criminals. Uruguayan authorities believe this has led to a rise in cocaine trafficking and organized crime-related violence in the country. 

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