Colombia’s “Widow of the Mafia” Assassinated

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Lorena Henao Montoya, known as the “Widow of the Mafia,” was murdered after assassins on a motorcycle strafed her car with bullets in the province of Armenia, just the latest chapter in a widening drug war.

Henao Montoya, age 43, was the widow of Ivan Urdinola, and the sister of Orlando Henao Montoya, alias “the Overall Man.”  Both men were heads of the now-defunct Norte Del Valle Cartel (NDVC), which according to US authorities smuggled more than 500 tons of cocaine from Colombia. Urdinola died in prison in February 2002 under suspicious circumstances, perhaps poisoned. His wife Lorena had herself been imprisoned on drug-related charges, after being arrested in Panama in 2004. She was been released in May 2011 after serving a sentence for conspiracy, fraud and bribery. Her daughter with Urdinola, Emma, aged just 23, is in prison for murder.

InSight Crime Analysis

There are various theories as to the motives behind the killing of Lorena Henao. One is that relatives of her ex-husband wanted properties that she controlled. Another theory is that some of her relatives in the powerful Henao criminal clan, who make up part of the Machos gang which now works with the Urabeños, saw her as an obstacle to business.

National Police Chief General Jose Roberto Leon Riaño said the police were working on the theory that she as killed as part of pending debts and problems with the Rastrojos.

Her murder is almost certainly linked to the wider drug war along the Pacific coast after the surrender to US authorities of Javier Calle Serna, alias “Comba.” Comba has delivered to US authorities much of the internal workings of the Rastrojos, the powerful drug syndicate that he led. This has resulted in widespread violence in Rastrojos strongholds with rival traffickers settling accounts and seeking to take over territory, as the criminal gang implodes.

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