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Colombia Captures Alias Mariachi, Link to Mexican Cartels in Colombia and Ecuador

Colombia Captures Alias Mariachi, Link to Mexican Cartels in Colombia and Ecuador

By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo
March 10, 2021

The Colombian National Police, in coordination with the Ecuadorian Anti-Narcotics Police, reported the capture of Ecuadorian national Alex Fernando Izquierdo, alias Mariachi, at Antioquia International Airport on January 22. Izquierdo engaged in transnational drug trafficking and money laundering for the Mexican cartel Jalisco New Generation.

“Through the exchange of information among authorities from several countries, it was established that [alias] Mexicano or Mariachi had arrived in the city of Medellín to establish criminal ties with Clan del Golfo leaders, in order to create cocaine trafficking routes from the Caribbean coast to Mexico and the United States,” the Colombian National Police told the press on January 22.

According to the statement, the last operation against this criminal was carried out in New York in late January 2019, when U.S. authorities seized “$500,000 that was to be sent in small amounts to different bank accounts in Colombia and Ecuador. In February 2019, Ohio state authorities seized from him 40 kilograms of cocaine, 1 kg of heroin, and $1 million,” the Colombian police added.

With help from the Ecuadorian Anti-Narcotics Police, the Colombian Police detained Ecuadorian national Alex Fernando Izquierdo, alias Mariachi, who was a direct link to Mexican cartels in Colombia, at the Antioquia International Airport, on January 22, 2021. (Photo: Colombian National Police)

Izquierdo is wanted by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for narcotrafficking and money laundering, the police statement said. For two years, U.S. authorities have been investigating this criminal, who had the resources to illegally move $2 million monthly, Bogotá’s newspaper El Tiempo reported.

The police investigation determined that this person acted as a world-class concert and show businessman, in an effort to go undetected. Izquierdo traveled constantly to Mexico; in fact, he made at least 40 official entries into the country, the Ecuadorian newspaper El Universo reported on January 22. In Ecuador, the native of Quito has a criminal record for fraud and document forgery, and authorities were investigating him for money laundering.

The police said that Izquierdo would obtain the cocaine “in labs located in Nariño department, taking it out through the Colombian Pacific coast, to be sent to Ecuador and later to Central American countries, such as Guatemala and Costa Rica, where the drug was delivered to the Mexican cartel Jalisco New Generation, for which he acted as a direct link, to finally be marketed in […] New York.”

Constant surveillance

In January 2017, Colombian authorities warned that since 2014 they had detected an increase in entries into the country by foreign narcotraffickers, who posing as tourists and businesspeople infiltrated drug-producing areas to buy and export cocaine to Mexico, the Mexican newspaper El Universal reported on January 22. During the first 29 days of 2021, cocaine and marijuana seizures exceeded 10 tons, the Colombian Office of the Attorney General said.

From August 7, 2018 to November 30, 2020, Colombia extradited 379 people, 280 of them to the United States, the Colombian Ministry of Justice indicated on its website, on December 16, 2020.