Erickson Vargas Cardenas, alias “Sebastian,” is a former hitman turned leader of the feared Oficina de Envigado organization that operates in and around Medellin, Colombia. He was captured by Colombian authorities on 8 August, 2012.
Vargas worked alongside the Oficina’s founder, Diego Murillo, alias “Don Berna,” in the vigilante movement against the famed drug trafficker Pablo Escobar in the early 1990s. He reportedly contributed valuable intelligence to authorities that helped lead to Escobar’s capture and death in 1993.
DOB: October 13, 1973
Group: Oficina de Envigado
Criminal Activities: Drug trafficking, drug dealing, kidnapping, extortion, murder
Area of Operation: Medellin, Colombia
Vargas continued to manage the Oficina’s hitmen network up until Murillo’s extradition in 2008, while another leader, Maximiliano Bonilla, alias “Valenciano,” mainly handled drugs trafficking operations. Bonilla and Vargas then fought each other for control of Medellin, especially the city’s so-called “micro-trafficking” business (which can bring in profits of more than $5.25 million a month), gambling and extortion schemes.
Vargas was a key figure in handling the Oficina de Envigado’s assassin network. He also forged ties with international trafficking organizations, such as the Zetas in Mexico.
Vargas’ center of influence in Medellin was said to be Comuna 9.
Allies and Enemies
Following Murillo’s arrest and extradition to the United States in 2008, Vargas began battling Valenciano — a fellow Oficina leader — for control of criminal activities in Medellin.
- “International Narcotics Control Strategy Report – 2010,” U.S. Department of State (March 2010).