• Connect with us on Linkedin

farc banner4

Once again 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, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the peace process are high.


Comba

  • Written by InSight

Javier Antonio Calle Serna, alias “Comba,” was the top leader of the Rastrojos, a group of former paramilitary hitmen turned drug trafficking organization in Colombia. He surrendered to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on May 8, 2012.

Linkedin
Google +

Calle Serna began his criminal career as a fighter for the Popular Liberation Army (EPL) in the southern department of Putumayo. When the rebel group demobilized in 1991 as part of the peace process, he moved northward to the city of Cali, in Valle del Cauca. There he established himself as an assassin and enforcer, and worked for several different drug traffickers, coming to the attention of Wilber Varela, alias "Jabon," then a leader of the Norte del Valle Cartel.

Over time Calle Serna gained Varela’s trust, and eventually became his top assistant, running much of the financial network and international contacts for the cartel. While working with the Norte del Valle organization, Javier became acquainted with Diego Perez Henao, alias “Diego Rastrojo.” The two developed a close and lasting relationship, with Perez managing the rural security structure for the Rastrojos up until his capture in June 2012.

After a conflict broke out between Calle Serna and Varela in January 2008, he had Varela killed in Merida, Venezuela, with the help of Perez and possibly Daniel Barrera, alias "El Loco.” 

In 2011, rumors surfaced that Javier and his brother Luis, also a Rastrojos leader, were on the verge of handing themselves over to U.S. authorities. Along with nine other members of the Rastrojos (all of whom have already been arrested in Colombia), Calle Serna was indicted by the Eastern District of New York in June 2011 on drug trafficking charges.

This tightening net, combined with the inroads that the rival Urabeños are making into Rastrojos turf in Antioquia, Cordoba and along the Pacific Coast, meant that Comba found himself increasingly under pressure. President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed in early 2012 that Javier Calle Serna was in talks with US authorities about turning himself in. His brother, Juan Carlos, was arrested in Ecuador in March 2012, another sign that the ring was tightening around the Calle Sernas. Rumors of Comba's surrender intensified during the first half of 2012, before he finally turned himself in to US authorities and was shipped to New York on May 8, 2012. 

The Rastrojos have been weakened since the fall of Javier Calle Serna and his brother, as well as the arrest and subsequent extradition to the United States of Perez. However, though their national leadership has been taken out, they continue to operate in smaller, localized cells in their traditional strongholds.

Resources

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

Country Page - Colombia

ColombiaCountry Profile
Colombia
See latest news and analysis of Colombia, its biggest criminal groups and most notorious kingpins.
Go to Page ...

Most Read

El Salvador Tax Probe Tightens Noose Around Texis Cartel Leader

El Salvador Tax Probe Tightens Noose Around Texis Cartel Leader

As part of a tax evasion investigation, El Salvador prosecutors have seized documents and searched properties belonging to Texis Cartel leader "El Chepe Diablo" and two key business partners, in a sign that the elusive...

Read more

The Narco of Narcos: Fugitive Mexican Drug Lord Rafael Caro Quintero

The Narco of Narcos: Fugitive Mexican Drug Lord Rafael Caro Quintero

The release of Rafael Caro Quintero from a Mexican prison in August 2013 was a blow to US-Mexico relations, the reputation of the Mexican justice system, and the drug war.

Read more

Mexico Cartel Had Stake in 7 Tn Colombia Cocaine Load

Mexico Cartel Had Stake in 7 Tn Colombia Cocaine Load

More details have emerged on the transport and seizure of a record seven tons of cocaine at the Colombian port of Cartagena, revealing that the shipment, bound for Europe, also involved Mexican cartels.

Read more