‘More Colombian Drug Lords Plan Surrender to US’

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Following the alleged arrest of the head of Colombia’s powerful Rastrojos gang, El Tiempo reports that two other Colombian drug lords are negotiating to turn themselves in.

El Tiempo reports that Daniel Barrera, alias “El Loco,” and Henry de Jesus Lopez, alias “Mi Sangre,” are also negotiating their surrender to the US. This follows the alleged surrender of one of the leaders of the Rastrojos, Javier Calle Serna, alias “Comba,” on Wednesday.

Calle Serna and his brother Luis are reportedly represented by a US attorney who says they will officially surrender in May, El Tiempo reports. In return for giving themselves up, they are reportedly asking for US residency visas for 16 family members, and that Colombia review the case against their brother Juan Carlos, arrested in Ecuador in March.

Diego Perez Henao, alias “Diego Rastrojo,” who controls the Rastrojo’s military wing, is also allegedly considering his handover to authorities, but is awaiting the results of Calle Serna’s case.

InSight Crime Analysis

Sources told InSight Crime that Javier Calle Serna has not yet surrendered to the DEA. These reports may be intended to instill anxiety in Colombia’s criminal networks. However, it is unlikely that Barrera and “Mi Sangre” began negotiations with the DEA in such quick reaction to these rumours. El Tiempo may simply be reporting on more allegations intended to rattle other Colombian drug traffickers. The other possibility is that Barrera and Jesus Lopez have been involved in secret talks for months, but it is still unlikely that the DEA would be leaking information about whom they are negotiating with.

Daniel Barrera, involved in Colombia’s drug trade since the 1980s, has been a long time ally of the Rastrojos. His ability to elude capture over the years raises questions as to why he would turn himself in now — especially as it is likely that the Rastrojos will continue to operate without the Calle Sernas. As InSight Crime has reported, the Rastrojos could likely endure the incarceration of the “Comba” brothers, as they lead only one part of the organization. The surrender of “Diego Rastrojo” would have far greater implications for the survival of the group, as he manages the majority of the group’s military and cocaine production operations.

It is also worth questioning why Jesus Lopez, one of the most powerful crimes lords in Medellin and a top leader of the Urabeños, would be seeking to surrender. He may in fact have more incentive to avoid arrest and expand the Urabeños’ operations if the Rastrojos are weakened by the loss of the Calle Serna brothers.

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