Colombian Navy units captured alias Amarillo, wanted by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida for extradition on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering, in front of a shopping mall in the city of Medellín, in Antioquia department, the Colombian Military Forces’ General Command (CGFM) said in a mid-November statement.
The 40-year-old narcotrafficker was allegedly in charge of financing the transport of drugs bound for Central America and the United States for a criminal group linked to the Clan del Golfo, which operates along Colombia’s Caribbean coast. According to the CGFM, alias Amarillo had been financing the shipment of cocaine hydrochloride from Turbo, Antioquia, in speedboats that set sail every month with some 3 tons of drugs. He also moved the proceeds of his illicit activities, which he then invested in properties, remaining hidden and evading the authorities, the CGFM said.
“We began tracking the subject alias Amarillo with the opening of a court case in 2013, where we established his connection with an organized crime group in the Urabá Gulf,” Colombian Navy Rear Admiral Hernando Mattos Dager, commander of the Caribbean Naval Force, told Diálogo. “In 2021, we dismantled a narcotrafficking group, capturing 27 people, including eight with extradition orders, and it ended in 2022 with the capture of alias Amarillo.”
After arduous intelligence work, the Colombian Navy launched the operation with the support of the Colombian Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), resulting in the first capture by the Navy of a so-called “invisible narcotrafficker,” that is a little known person, with a low profile to finance illicit activities.
“The term ‘invisible’ is used for those narcotraffickers who use the different organized armed groups to protect their shipments, but do not link themselves within their organizations so that there is no record of their presence; in other words, they take it upon themselves to commit crimes under other names so that they are not prosecuted,” Rear Adm. Mattos said. “As he consolidated his hierarchy within the group, [alias Amarillo] distanced himself from its operational movements, carrying out all his moves and coordination through third parties.”
In this operation, the work of the DEA was fundamental to negotiate the extradition order with the U.S. government; it was also a constant support to facilitate the follow-up processes for the case, Rear Adm. Mattos said. Alias Amarillo used the services of the criminal subgroups Efrén Vargas Gutiérrez, Central de Turbo, and Gabriel Poveda Ramos, at the service of the Clan del Golfo, the officer added.
So far this year and up to November 23, the Caribbean Naval Force has captured 287 members of the Clan del Golfo. Among these, Rear Adm. Mattos highlighted the capture of six ringleaders.