Colombian Drug Dealer ‘Fritanga’ Awaits Extradition to United States
By Dialogo October 15, 2012
BOGOTÁ — Colombians can’t stop talking about the contrasting lifestyles of two prominent drug traffickers who went to great lengths in order to conceal their identities — but got caught anyway.
Daniel Barrera, known as “El Loco,” or The Crazy One, ranked among the world’s most wanted drug traffickers. He kept a very low profile in Venezuela and had even tried to erase his fingerprints by burning them in acid to confuse authorities. On the other extreme, Camilo Torres enjoyed the good life and flaunted his wealth. He successfully faked his own death but later gave himself away by throwing an over-the-top wedding party on a Caribbean island.
Torres now sits in a cramped prison cell in northern Colombia awaiting extradition to the United States on drug charges. “The guy is all set to be extradited, a spokesman for the Colombian Attorney General’s office told Diálogo. “He has been notified.”
A high-ranking member of the Urabeños drug trafficking organization, Torres was known as “Fritanga,” or Fry-up, for his custom of entertaining guests with huge platters of fried meats, a Colombian specialty known as fritanga.
On July 1, Colombian police raided Torres’ wedding party held at the Punta Faro Hotel, located the island of Múcura in the Gulf of Morosquillo. The region is notorious for the constant stream of drug-laden vessels departing for Central America.
Hotel raid marked Fritanga’s second arrest since 2008
The luxury hotel — where rooms cost between $300 and $700 a night — sits near an abandoned mansion that once belonged to Salvatore Mancuso, a former paramilitary strongman extradited to the United States in 2008. Paramilitaries kidnapped nine people from the island in 2000.
According to one source, the Punta Faro’s owners at first had no clue they were hosting the wedding party of a drug trafficker.
Torres and his bride-to-be had stayed at the hotel twice before and seemed like a normal couple. But by the third day of the wedding, the hotel was jammed with big-name musicians, TV actors and prostitutes among the more than 200 guests — and the owners began to suspect something was amiss. Torres had paid half the hotel and wedding charges in advance, but the owners were left stuck with the rest of the bill after the drug dealer was hauled away in handcuffs.
It was the second time Torres had been arrested. In 2008 he was detained on narcotics charges but later was released. He then fell off the radar after he faked his death in 2010 by convincing a doctor to forge a death certificate.
It now turns out that the doctor, Augusto Gallego, who was captured Aug. 7, may have helped at least two other drug traffickers and paramilitary leaders fake their own deaths to avoid capture.
Faking death a popular tactic among drug kingpins
In fact, the Bogotá think tank Insight Crime says pretending to be dead is one of the best ways for traffickers to avoid detection. After the former head of Mexico’s Juárez cartel, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, died during a botched plastic surgery operation in 1997, many Mexicans believed that the kingpin had staged his own death and was still at large.
More recently, Insight Crime noted, some experts have posited that alias “El Chayo,” the leader of the Familia Michoacana drug cartel, might have faked his death too. He was killed in a shootout with Mexican police in 2010 but his body was never found. Though there’s no proof, there is speculation that “El Chayo” may have simulated his death in order to clandestinely assume control of the Knights Templar cartel.
Faking death worked for Fritanga as well — until he gave himself away on his wedding night. By contrast, Barrera, known as El Loco for his violent mood swings, tried to confuse Colombian authorities by changing his identity.
He had worked with both FARC guerrillas and paramilitaries over the past 20 years to build up a huge drug-trafficking network in Colombia. Local press reports say Barrera amputated the right finger of one of his dead brothers in order to legalize financial and commercial documents without being detected. But as law enforcement officials closed in in the late 2000s, he moved across the border to Venezuela.
Barrera kept a low profile in Venezuela
Unlike Torres, Barrera assumed a modest lifestyle during his time in Venezuela. He passed himself off at a local rancher and often stayed at a cheap guesthouse in the border city of San Cristóbal, which is also the birthplace of Ilich Ramirez Sánchez, the terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal.
Barrera eschewed bodyguards and instead moved around with a female companion who doubled as his driver. He also used pay phones rather than mobile phones.
According to Colombian police, Barrera had had extensive facial surgery and had shed many pounds in order to change his appearance. He even tried to burn off his fingerprints with acid in a frying pan.
“He was very gracious and kept to himself,” a guesthouse employee told London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper. “He was a generous tipper and did not want to be bothered. We had noticed the marks on his hands, but never imagined he had deliberately burned himself.”
Barrera’s disappearing act came to an end in September when Colombian authorities detected his presence in San Cristóbal and alerted Venezuelan authorities. They proceeded to tap 69 public phones which Barrera was thought to use to contact his businesses associates and family, said Venezuelan Interior Minister Tarek el Aissami.
Venezuelan authorities arrested Barrera on Sep. 18 as he was speaking from a pay phone. At the time of his capture, he was carrying a false Colombian ID in the name of José Tomás Lucumi Popo. Afterwards, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos hailed the downfall of Barrera, calling him “the last of the great capos.”
In both cases even though they have tried to evade justice, they were captured because of their own errors. The intelligence of our police is definitely #1 The real truth is that these two players, Fritanga and El Loco are first division and we have to praise them and let them enjoy but well quiet, total they are not immortal and now in a prison they are much more dangerous because they have too much time to think, to organize and to carry out what they want. Also with this is achieved something that benefits society. I think that we that work and put the shoulder to the heavy burden of doing things the legal way, we do benefit at all and those living off this will not abandon their activities. On the contrary, by having less strong competition they will strengthen. Let us stop fucking with drugs, space travel, succulent salaries and letÂ´s try that many people that is fighting every day live better. Greetings from Uruguay, from a worker that works 16 hours per day as a baker and is always struggling to stay afloat. If human beings were more equitable regarding the distribution of economic wealth and each household could get decent housing, stable employment and be well paid in order to be able to meet the primary needs of their maintenance, in addition to a good education and effective coverage of health services, no one would have to be devoted to drug trafficking or to any illegal activity. I can assure you that. Learn to raise the child, so that you don't have to punish the adult! Whatever they say, the world is rotten because of the vices of corrupt humanity and respect for others. This world wonÂ´t change because of the double standard of human beings. In spite of everything it is necessary to depurate the armed forces so that all corrupts be taken out. This is why there are still many narcos loose in the street doing evil to humanity and creating their own clan of richness. amimope The world is rotten because of politicians who are some scourges of shit. ThatÂ´s why we are as we are, not only as result of drugs but because politicians seek that the world becomes so ugly. What can a system produce when it is in decline and therefore its social diseases manifest forcefully? The system itself is a factory of criminals, some fall and others appear; a large vicious circle until the end of capitalism. There is not a big difference between these two criminals and the mother-in-law of queen Valery Dominguez that pays an annual tax of $58.000 pesos for an estate of 777 acres in Ginebra, Valle del Cauca. (Daniel Coronel) Well it is true, if wealth was not so badly distributed and if we were not so ambitious, many things could be avoided. For example these people who work for the capos do so because they like the easy life and others do it because of their ignorance. Capos are clever, they know the need of common man and take advantage of that, because a person with his senses and no pressure, with a normal lifestyle and above all intelligent, is not going to be involved in something they know that the only way to escape from is by death or jail...
But while there are more ignorant people like drug addicts there will always be people dedicated to drug trafficking. As they say, if there is demand there must be production. What bullshit, while they kill themselves consuming crap the others become millionaires... That is life: the smartest ones live from the more stupid ones... Write it down, gentlemen...
The problem of organized crime is part of the status quo that is directed by secret societies for humanity's evil, but it is also true that many myths will fall without these actors. Like who or how many protect these pranes (prisoners that hold power in jail) of drug trafficking. For them it is good to live and to die in different confrontations between States, as did U.S. in Iran Gate and might be doing in other countries for the benefit of big gangster who make life in different countries with their tax havens and others that protect and finance terrorists for well-being of the world gangsters. There is only one truth in our country and it is that all our social crisis are due to nothing more or less than our rulers and corrupt politicians who since long before many of us were born had already bled our country. These inhumane people with so many amenities, earning million, with their house or houses, with estates (where the lands are wasted), trucks, many connected to big business emporiums, I don't know how they are always thinking of stealing, bleeding a town with so many needs. They have not understood that in our world all are one and that we want it or not, everyone has a connection, and that what we do in the time sooner or later is going to be reflected in our society, in our families, in our streets, neighborhoods, cities, in our country, in our nature, in the life of each of us. There are times that I think that this situation does not have a solution, but no, we must not fall into this trap, we cannot lose the hopes of living in a better world. I make a call that each of us use this tool that is the Internet to send messages that with the passing of time reach the right people that make the big decisions in our country and make dent in the awareness of them and each one of us. That is the life of the ignorant. They do not know how to use what they get 35318 Fritanga and El Loco COLOMBIANS: in order to exterminate the evil that our country has, the following have to be eradicated: corrupt politicians, military, public employees and many more.
How is it possible that our people continue to believe in all these so-called Parents of the Fatherland that continue cheating all the Colombian people.
From my heart I ask that during the next elections we cast a blank vote, to see what the wrongly called Parents of the Fatherland do.
LONG LIVE THE BLANK VOTE IN UPCOMING ELECTIONS.
Why do they want so much money? If money allowed me to live for centuries like vampires, I would think about it. the truth is that these drug dealers are the bi-product of a failed system, where the last government received so many bribes, we don't know the extent of it; sending these people to the united states is the best solution, and not having them in these medium-security prisons; they will only cause more issues in whatever cities they are sent to. In Colombia, injustice and concentration of wealth in few hands are the daily agenda. The illusion of easy money: corrupt politicians in the Congress set the example, and corruption, widespread to all control agencies, fill many Colombians with hope. in order to put an end to corruption in this country... we would have to bring at least one hundred of these corrupt people who have been forever in the government and other branches, as well as in the corrupt, stealing higher classes TO JUSTICE AND TAKE AWAY THE MEMBERS OF THOSE WHO KEEP STEALING... THE REST WOULD SHIT THEMSELVES OF FEAR AND WILL RUN AWAY... MY IDEA IS MAGNIFICENT, ISN'T IT? WHAT HAPPENS IS THAT WITH PEOPLE SUCH AS OURS, WITH NO DIGNITY OR SELF-ESTEEM, SUBMISSIVE AND ON ITS KNEES, AND ON TOP OF THAT COWARDS THAT ARE GOOD FOR NOTHING BUT TO RAPE MINORS AND ABUSE WOMEN... WE WILL NEVER, EVER PUT AN END TO THIS, I ASSURE YOU. AWARENESS, MY PEOPLE, AWARENESS... In the past Colombia didn't care about a territory that did not belong to it, it belonged to Ecuador. Because of all that happened in those departments, they lost control of things, now they want to raise awareness after turning many policemen and military men into New Rich. the blank vote is not the solution, because those who will vote will be the same individuals or relatives that receive privileges from these unscrupulous corrupt white-collar people that have been in power for years, counting the same old 20 votes to stay in power. We need to change and name new people, watch them closely and apply the law fully, without exception. Also, someone put an end to the civil and penal law, because the civil one is for the rich, and the penal for those without means. thieves............ congratulations.....