• Connect with us on Linkedin

Sinaloa Cartel May Have Presence in Southwest Colombia: Santos

An aerial view of Tumaco, Colombia An aerial view of Tumaco, Colombia

Rumors suggest that Mexican drug cartels have established a presence in southwest Colombia, according to Colombia’s president, highlighting the strategic importance of the region in the drug trade.

Linkedin
Google +

During a February 14 security conference in Tumaco, in Colombia’s Nariño department, President Juan Manuel Santos said that there have been “many rumors” that Mexican cartels are present in this department, and in particular, the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, El Pais reported.

The president said that the Prosecutor General’s Office and the National Police will investigate the possibility that Mexican cartels are present in this southwestern province, which borders Ecuador to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the west, and is one of Colombia’s biggest coca producing regions.

Santos also said that he would increase the Tumaco police force by 200, indicating concern over security in the port city, which has the highest rate of coca production in Colombia and is one of the most violent areas of the country.

InSight Crime Analysis

The president’s statements did not make clear whether he believes that the cartel is developing a permanent armed presence in Nariño or merely has representatives there. Regardless, the department’s geographic location and coca plantations make it a strategic convergence point for transnational drug traffickers.

Numerous criminal organizations already operate within the department, including the Rastrojos, the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Tumaco has served as a particularly strategic site for these organizations, which use the port and the surrounding area as an exit point for drug shipments.

Colombian authorities have previously arrested various operatives accused of acting as intermediaries between the Sinaloa Cartel and Colombian criminal organizations, including Jorge Milton Cifuentes in November 2012, member of an infamous Colombian drug trafficking family, and, in January 2013, a Cali man thought to coordinate activities with Sinaloa Cartel head Joaquin Guzman Loera, alias "El Chapo." In early 2012, Colombia arrested 34 members of a little-known group, the Galeano Clan, also thought to have Sinaloa Cartel ties.

In early 2011, Colombia’s chief of police reported that the Sinaloa Cartel had begun working with the FARC, following reports that the cartel had operatives in Peru and Ecuador. Ecuador has also served as a connection point between Colombian and Mexican drug trafficking organizations. 

The large number of alleged Sinaloa Cartel operatives arrested in southern Colombia highlights the region's importance to drug traffickers, and makes a Sinaloa Cartel presence in Nariño well within the realms of possibility. The department’s border with Ecuador, long coastline, coca production, and history of criminal activity, coupled with the cartel's expanding influence, serve to increase this likelihood.

Linkedin
Google +

---

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We also encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, provided that it is attributed to InSight Crime in the byline, with a link 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.

InSight Crime Search

The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas

InSight Crime Social

facebooktwittergooglelinkedin

InSight Crime Special Series

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

Los Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

See entire series »

 

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill

Uruguay: Marijuana, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug.

See entire series »

El Salvador's Gang Truce

El Salvador's Gang Truce

The truce between El Salvador's two largest gangs -- the MS-13 and the Barrio 18 -- opens up new possibilities in how to deal with

See entire series »

Juarez After The War

Juarez After The War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality.

See entire series »

The Zetas And The Battle For Monterrey

The Zetas and the Battle for Monterrey

InSight Crime delves into the Zetas' battle for Mexico’s industrial capital, Monterrey, getting to the essence of a criminal gang that defies easy definition.

See entire series »

Slavery in Latin America

Slavery in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into modern slavery, looking at how Latin America’s criminal groups traffic human beings and force them to work as slaves.

See entire series »

FARC, Peace and Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is being dangled before Colombia. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, the enemies of the negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the process are high.

See entire series »

Displacement in Latin America

Displacement in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into the new face of displacement in Latin America, where organized criminal groups are expanding and forcing people to flee.

See entire series »

Target: Migrants

Target: Migrants

The growth of organized crime in Mexico and Central America has led to an increase in violence and insecurity across the region, posing challenges to citizens, public security forces, and travelers.

See entire series »

Zetas in Guatemala

The Zetas in Guatemala

Mexico's Zetas have taken Guatemala by storm, and they are testing this country and the rest of the region: fail this test, and Central America sinks deeper into the abyss.

See entire series »

Most Read

Mexico Govt Struggles to Control Cartel-Run Highways

Mexico Govt Struggles to Control Cartel-Run Highways

The continued presence of criminal groups along some of Mexico’s highways, especially in the embattled northeast, has become a litmus test for just how much control the government really has in certain parts of the...

Read more

Construction Site Extortion in Peru Shows Evolution of Local Org Crime

Construction Site Extortion in Peru Shows Evolution of Local Org Crime

Peru is reportedly home to at least 60 criminal groups which extort the construction industry under the guise of trade unions, indicating the development and expansion of local organized crime.

Read more

St Lucia Latest Caribbean Paradise to Turn Gang Battleground

St Lucia Latest Caribbean Paradise to Turn Gang Battleground

Police on the island of St Lucia have blamed gangs for a recent wave of murders and shootings, as the Caribbean region continues to suffer from violent and powerful streets gangs and rising drug trafficking.

Read more

IDRC9-01