Colombia’s Flamboyant Drug Dealer ‘Fritanga’ Arrested at Drunken Party
By Dialogo July 16, 2012
BOGOTA, Colombia – Learning from the mistakes of the high-flying Pablo Escobar, Colombian drug smugglers these days usually go low-profile: Levi’s instead of Armani suits, Toyotas rather than Ferraris, commercial flights in lieu of private jets.
But Camilo Torres, who is wanted in the United States on drug trafficking charges, broke all the rules.
On July 1, Colombian police raided a lavish week-long wedding party staged at a luxury hotel on a Caribbean island that featured a dozen bands, soap opera stars, models and prostitutes among the 200 guests. The host was Torres, a high-ranking member of the Urabeños drug trafficking organization.
Torres, 37, had just gotten married and was dancing with his bride when police agents crashed the bacchanal on its sixth night and arrested the groom. Torres’s guests were so inebriated they didn’t realize it was a raid.
“It was the strangest thing I’ve seen in 10 years of pursuing narcos,” one police agent told the Bogotá newsweekly Semana. “Even though we were armed and wearing uniforms, people clapped. They thought we were in costumes and were part of the show.”
Photos of the party show Torres singing along with rap artists. In others, fireworks explode and B-list Colombian actors pose next to large pink letters spelling out the word “LOVE.”
‘Fantasy Island’ retreat brings back memories of Medellín cartel
The party was held at the Punta Faro Hotel on the island of Múcura, which is located in the Gulf of Morosquillo. Rooms there cost between $300 and $700 a night. The local media dubbed the tropical atoll “Fantasy Island.”
News and photos of the celebration have caused a sensation in Colombia, in part, because they seem like a throwback to the days when the Medellín and Cali cartels ruled the cocaine underworld and flaunted their opulence.
Describing that era in “Killing Pablo” — his book about Pablo Escobar and the Medellín cartel — Mark Bowden wrote that all the cocaine kings had mansions, limousines, race cars, personal helicopters and planes, fine clothes and fancy artwork. “It was a higher life than anyone in Colombia had ever seen,” he wrote.
In 1979, for example, Escobar bought a 7,400-acre ranch that he christened Hacienda Nápoles. The kingpin built an airport, a helipad, six swimming pools, and artificial lakes at Nápoles and stocked it with hundreds of exotic animals, including elephants, buffaloes, lions, rhinoceroses, gazelles, zebras, hippos, camels and ostriches.
“The mansion was outfitted with every toy and extravagance money could buy,” Bowden wrote. “Pablo could sleep a hundred guests at a time… On display out front was a 1930s-era sedan peppered with bullet holes which Pablo said had belonged to Bonnie and Clyde. Nápoles was an outrageous blend of the erotic, exotic and extravagant.”
Drug traffickers keep a lower profile these days
But by living large and using extreme violence to maintain his wealth and power, Escobar made himself a more prominent target for both U.S. and Colombian authorities and rival traffickers. Since the demise of the Medellín and Cali cartels in the 1990s, subsequent smuggling chieftains have toned down their lifestyles.
That’s partly because they’re no longer as influential. Over the past decade, Colombian organizations have been displaced by Mexican cartels that took over the narcotics distribution routes into the United States, the most lucrative part of the business. As a result, there’s far less drug money in the Colombian economy.
Alejandro Gaviria, dean of the economics department at Bogotá’s University of the Andes, estimates that the illegal drug trade now makes up about 2.5 percent of Colombia’s gross domestic product, compared to about 4 percent of GDP when the Medellín and Cali cartels dominated the business.
But beyond the economic logic, going low-profile is safer and is often more effective. Rather than killing public officials, for example, traffickers prefer to win them over through bribes. Instead of mansions, some live in middle-class neighborhoods, take taxis and are virtually unknown to the Colombian public or even to anti-drug officials.
That’s why Torres, known by his rather whimsical pseudonym Fritanga, or “Fry-up,” seems like such an anomaly.
“He was an experienced trafficker,” said one police investigator. “That’s why it’s surprising that he cwould commit such a gross error as to throw a party as if he were a famous drug kingpin – something we haven’t seen since the 1980s. If he hadn’t thrown the party, we might not have caught him.”
'Fritanga' faces extradition to United States
Though not a cartel boss, Torres was an important member of the Urabeños, a criminal gang that controls many of the cocaine trafficking routes through northern Colombia. Colombian authorities claim Torres’ role was to help move drugs into Central America, in part, by securing navigational information from the Colombian Navy to help cocaine-laden boats avoid raids.
Torres was arrested on drug charges in 2008 but later released. He then fell off the radar of Colombian authorities after he faked his death in 2010 by convincing a government bureaucrat to forge a death certificate.
Another sign of his importance is that seven U.S. citizens, including five from Puerto Rico — a key stopover point for cocaine shipments heading to the U.S. from Colombia — were briefly detained at Torres’s party.
“The presence of foreign nationals at the wedding could be a further indication of Fritanga's status in the Urabeños’ business network,” said an analysis published by the Colombian think tank Insight Crime. “There are already some signs that Fritanga had significant influence over local Colombian authorities: he was able to release a forged death certificate, complete with notary public and medical approval, in 2010.”
Following his arrest, Torres stands to be extradited to the United States on charges of moving cocaine through Central America and Mexico and into the U.S territory. As he was being led away in handcuffs, Torres — who spent an estimated $1.4 million on his wedding — seemed unfazed and shouted to attendees: “I’ll be your friend forever.”
WHY IS IT THAT THE SAME THING DOES NOT HAPPEN HERE WITH THE DRUG DEALERS? GOOD MORNING! In this text, there is a part that Pablo Escobar did, and he exists, why? Read the stories that have been written about this character. He was very smart since he was young, and how is it possible that it has been written that with his fortune it was possible to pay the debt of Colombia. Pablo Escobar G. is the most intelligent person and nobody is aware of this. I know about him because I have read it. These are lies of the devil that is dead. As long as the Yankees remain in Colombia disguised as "guerrilla" the drug production will never end, which is for their benefit at the expense of discrediting of the Colombian citizenship. The great hypocrisy is to say that they are involved in a hard fight against the drug trade. The battle is uneven: honest persons vs. the Empire. All the money he spent should be donated to people suffering from cancer. This could save many lives because I think that his life cannot be saved. All the money he spent should be donated to people suffering from cancer. This could save many lives because I think that his life cannot be saved. THIS CAPTURE WAS VERY GOOD. I HOPE THAT THEY CAPTURE THE REST OF THOSE MISERABLE THUGS. Iâ€™m trying to know if my Brazilian son, Renato Bender, is the co-pilot who survived the plane crash on July 3rd 2012 and got arrested, please help me, how can I send a picture for you? May God bless you who is reading this, Iâ€™m looking forward for information through my email. DESPERATE BRAZILIAN MOTHER This news seems interesting since it allowed me to know which profiles are keeping some drug traffickers in Colombia. Fine. Interesting, but not unusual, since we know of characters living lavishly, with private jets, mansions on the beach and San JosÃ©, Costa Rica; Managua, Nicaragua; cars, yachts, etc., and it is only a President of the electoral power of Nicaragua with a salary of US$5,000.00/monthly. This police action is incredible. This makes us happy because drug trafficking became the most disgusting business of the mediocre and psychopaths who do not see the damage posed to humanity, beyond the nations from which they come. In Bolivia we are drowning with this evil, every day we see how from the State power this cocaine vice is encouraged, that surely late or early justice will fall upon them. LetÂ´s hope that Evo Morales, Linera, Juan RamÃ³n de la Quintana etc. are those who pay this tremendous damage to our Bolivian nation, since at the same time the head of State is already negotiating with the Miristas of Jaime Paz Zamora, former Bolivian President, and the major actors who are the beneficiary of drug trafficking in Bolivia. This action against drug trafficking makes us happy because damage posed to humanity is tremendously criminal, regardless the nations from which they come. In Bolivia, this evil is encouraged from the State power and surely late or early justice will fall upon them. LetÂ´s imagine how the head of State is already negotiating with Jaime Paz Zamora, former Bolivian President, and the major actors who are the beneficiary of drug trafficking in Bolivia. And then we complain about if we are considered banana republics... with that stupid waste and with hungry people... it is immoral... so much corruption at all levels offends humanity... THIS FRITANGA IS A COMPLETE IDIOT Prisoner now for growing marihuana... he is a prisonerâ€¦ What good news, it would be very interesting if this could be done in our country and that the counternarcotics police could identify the real drug traffickers and defenders of this evil. The desire of fame of people that live on the edge is very high, and with their clouded brains they have the idea that everything comes out well. The group that surrounds them with flattery makes them believe that they are semi gods and this is fatal, because they make mistakes that take them behind bars. People are very crazy If your son was the airplaneâ€™s pilot, it would have been better if he had died, because itâ€™s a shame for his family and heâ€™s guilty of being a drug dealer. A middle class young man, who had the means to have an honest career, and in spite of it got involved in the criminal world. They are fools, ha ha Well, that is what people who dream of having everything since they are children do. That is what poverty makes, each head is a world, each person can do whatever he/she wants with his/her life. These "selective captures" only seek to create an array of efficiency in the attack on the cartels. The truth is that the drug in Colombia is an institutional business, since the cartel wars in the 90s business was migrating to Governors, businessmen and bankers; at the same time they were corporatizing the business with their gringo partners. So much so that the Colombian Government today declares the existence of 406 thousand hectares of coca (there are more actually) run and managed by super corporate traffickers that reside in USA and Europe. 72% of the narco money goes to these places and 86% of traffickers comes from and lives in USA and Western Europe. These 406 thousand hectares of coca are processed in Colombia by formal industries and guarded by AUC, at a time, and then BaCrims and American military seated in 7 U.S. military bases in Colombia. Faced with rivals of less worth in the production: A number of small organizations and FARC. That is the reality of the Colombian fight against drugs, guided by the hands of the masters of the narco world (military and economic sectors of us with large lobbies in the White House) and police actions as referred to here. The tragedy became even bigger, when the business passed from "simple narcos" to American media-financial-military corporations. Cocaine today represents a formidable tool of capitalization, in turn it is very useful to the hegemonic interests of the darkest sector of humanity. Another clear example of this is focused on Afghanistan and the increase in the production of heroin since the USA invasion. And as historical data is the Iran-Contra case and the narco military flights from Vietnam to USA.
Definitely ignorance runs a good part of our portal: 1st, people make a huge fuss about drug trafficking; second,they donÂ´t care about truly important things for the Colombian people, as the basic needs not covered by the Government because of the corruption. Third,they set aside our consumption problem in our youth. This is what is really important. Commentators, please be aware, mature, condemn consistently. If the Yankees are happy snorting drugs, they can continue doing so. we can help a little bit, but we cannot despair because a traffic and consumption problem in a country that is not ours. It is the Gringos' problem, not ours. Please understand. Let us not get trapped by the news and media that speculate with this. MR. CAMILO TORRES "FRITANGA" FORGOT THAT THE OSTENTATION OF ILL-GOTTEN WEALTH CAUSES JEALOUSY, ENVY AND SUSPICION. UNLIKE FRIEND PEDRO PABLO, I BELIEVE THAT HE IS A "DONKEY" MAY HE CELEBRATE MANY YEARS IN PRISON. I WISH HE AND ALL THOSE WHO ARE ENGAGED IN THAT BUSINESS WERE CAPTURED AND PUNISHED. God does not allow more Pablos in the battered Colombia... of the 1980s... horror of horrors... Fritanga ran from the poultry yard... because that is his culture...he broke the pattern and his low class emerged... There are strays and vagrants to everything... but there are limits in life Drug traffickers exist because they are part of a corrupt society, in which are involved politicians, military, police and officials at all levels that they know from their illegal activities, but when the news has to be a psychosocial to cover other scandals of the Government. Fritanga was created. In Bolivia drug trafficking is the owner of power. What good news, why doesn't this happen in Bolivia where production of raw materials like coca has been institutionalized and the crime is being covered up by the queers Linera, Quintana, and Evo. Why don't they capture the blond Carlos Bru, Mayor of Yacuiba, which aside from being a drug trafficker protected by the plurinational State, is stealing all the silver of the royalties that the TGN pays for the exploitation of hydrocarbons. Hopefully in this traffickers issue, the International Court in the Hague should intervene once and for all, because it has all the power to form a team of researchers and put an end to the corruption in the world. I think it is time to act, simply there is a lack of will from those who want to leave a healthy society where our children can live peacefully in the future. Incredible: that they be extradited for taking care of the American petty cash, DEA, without caring for the people of their country. I am MARIA BELEN and in my country, Argentina, live many foreigners, among them Colombians. Very recently 17 persons known as the "Band of Colombians" were captured and I hope they are punished for what they did here. I'm not a person who discriminates against foreigners. Simply, one thing is to come to work and something very different to commit crimes. Greetings to the people of Colombia. WHAT HAPPENS IN HONDURAS IS POLITICIANS + MILITARY + BUSINESSMEN = DRUG TRAFFICKING Eventually Fritanga is not a problem... Politicians thieves... The salaries of the parents of the motherland who are exaggerated, the theft by our Government employees that are paid with our taxes. They steal from us because we are fools by choosing and voting for a pack of thieves. The parallel payroll and waste during the Uribe Administration and many others who believe that Fritanga matters. This is just a smoke curtain. I am Alexander. In my country Bolivia Santa Cruz de la Sierra live many Colombians, and all the time they take part in crime events, as drug trafficking. I hope they are punished for what they do here. I'm not a person who discriminates against foreigners. Simply one thing is that they come to work and something very different to commit crimes. greetings to the brave people of Colombia. Gentlemen, drug trafficking will always exist as long as drug selling is not legalized. If those people want to destroy their lives with drugs, they should be allowed to do it. Don't blame the Colombian people who have needs like everyone in the world. Our people overcome and manages to live better!, why not point to the gringos of DEA and their Government. They not want drug to be legalized because... they like to consume it and without it they would NOT exist and they would NOT have a budget. They should go to their house to cook burgers and scrap food. They are part of that chain, the thicker and harder to cut, gentlemen. Greetings to my dear Colombia, I am far away... The world's best game. very good Hello. I am Ruben Vasquez from the Dominican Republic: first things first, my respect to Colombians. I love the way they talk and Colombian women are beautiful. Well, I think that as in any society or countries there are persons that they do the right thing and in this case they must pay for what they do. I have known Colombians that honor their country and its people with decent work. Also gentlemen, this is not the money from the State, nor from the people or any official. They manage to live better than oneself, but who says something about the corruption that exists in our country, a corruption which involves the highest authorities. Just ask how much does a congressman earn? Who would not want to earn such a large and disproportionate salary? They earn a good salary but no one does anything for the poor people of the country. They are happy. Some already liked to be a Congressman. They want to be re-elected because that job is very profitable. While a poor or oneself earns a minimum salary cannot purchase the minimum household goods. That is why drug traffic exists. Good for them. What a pity for Fritanga but he is nothing more than a businessman. The real offenders are the policemen, or the judges, prosecutors and lawyers that he bribed in order to become a capo. Greetings to all Colombians, they are nice guys. This is good news but unimportant because although they capture one, there are thousands in the same swing and they know that sooner or later justice will be served. All of this is caused by the consumers and this will never end, because this type of business is very lucrative and criminals see it as a better way to be paid by their criminal practices, and this even draws the attention of people with a certain degree of education, and not only are the Colombians but this is also clearly widespread around the world. They were the pioneers, but I know very honest Colombians who know how to make a living as everyone does, but unfortunately there are compatriots that do not care about blemishing the dignity of others. The problem is not to capture them, but that they become citizens with values and that the real culprits of this scourge are punished. I am referring to those who make the invasions and they take down Governments, they kill rulers and entire peoples at the expense of undermining human rights. So goes the pitcher to the water that is left without ears. What secrets will not hide this miserable Fritanga Torres, as he could accumulate so much wealth. In this roulette of death are included: prosecutors, judges, military, police, politicians, etc.etc. Something similar to what happened in the Peru with the capture of ValdÃ©s Villacorta " the Mayor Narco, Mosca Loca," that was brainwashed by Montesinos-Fujimori; i.e. are in a world scrambled in shit... A boat adrift that is headed into the abyss. Who is interested in that the cost of the coca to rise to astronomical prices? REF.: These "selective catches" only seek to create an array of efficiency in the attack on the cartels. The truth is that the drug in Colombia is an institutional business, starting from the from the cartels war in the 1990s, business was migrating to rulers, businessmen and bankers; to USA sites and 86 per cent of drug traffickers come from and are found in the U.S.and Western Europe. These 406 thousand hectares of coca are processed in Colombia by formal industries and guarded by AUC, at a time, and then by the criminal gangs and the North American military seated in 7 U.S. military bases in Colombia, facing the rivals with lower value productionâ€¦ IT IS A SAD AND CRUEL REALITY THAT IS TAKING NEO DEBAUCHERY TO THE ABYSS. Life with a drug dealer is a swingâ€¦ hahahahahahahaâ€¦ !!!!!!!!!! Why doesn't something similar happen to the drug dealers Everybody is talking about drug traffickers, but well, they help poor people, not like the thieves that govern the countries, with the Constitution of each country that supports them to save large amounts of money, and no one telling them anything or condemning them by this illicit enrichment. Tell me who is after them: nobody. Colombians are good guys. The current world situation is a reflection of the loss of values, at which we have arrived, so much is that day we dehumanize ourselves to the extent that we are unable to see beyond our noses and put at risk our OFFSPRING, because for nobody is a secret the world that leave as inheritance to the grandchildren, it is very BLEAK, not only because of the lack of material resources but by the emotional, BEHAVIORAL, psychological denaturation that is significantly reflected in all the roles of the undignified, materialistic, opportunistic, greedy, concerned, without natural affection, treacherous, stubborn, slanderous humans, in the end, away from the divine source. And consequently receiving all the consequences of such absurd decision; i.e. lose the grace and blessing of our God is synonymous of: VIOLENCE, SUICIDES, WARS, LOSS OF THE FAMILY, etc. I am not a drug trafficker because I was a student at the same school time. 3 years of upt study but I received your message tonight. Thank you. They should think about doing a social good to the poorest, like in Europe do. Well. Enjoy it! Nothing strange, virtually a trafficker, a poor millionaire. As they have said, sort it out as best you can. There is no other way. The situation is that the drug industry is the most powerful in the world and where all types of persons are involved, from high ranking financiers to the more humble men, the flow of incalculable money that is supplied by the millions of American consumers and which serves as sustenance to thousands of men involved in the business. The famous war on drugs just is barely utilized in this case to get rid of those who are guilty of boastfulness, such as Fritanga. Today the business is more sophisticated. For latinos, what is serious is that our youth is in danger. In all sectors of society the consumption is on the rise. And how are things in Uruguay regarding drugs? Nobody talks about that topic, eh ??? THERE IS NOT A PERFECT CRIME. Early or late, and because of their dumbness, the persons that are requested by the USA are detained. If there is a perfect crime, why the mafia members do not commit it? Definitely, it is a shame that there are people with great intelligence in the wrong path believing that they are at the top, when they are really building their own hell... At the current time the inhabitants of the Earth must not vote for rulers who are not Christians, because they are the first involved in corruption. If you do not believe what I am telling you, please see Amolonga. Look for it on youtube. That municipality used to be the worst. A Christian ruler came to power and you can see how it changed. It is fear of God what makes men change, because money makes them sick. Here in Peru it is seen that Colombians who enter are drug dealers, criminals, prostitutes, assassins, all of them. Hello. I LIVE IN HONDURAS. DRUG TRAFFICKING IS ONE OF THE BEST JOBS THERE ARE. I THINK PEOPLE THAT DO IT, DO IT BECAUSE THEY WANT TO. DRUG IS NEVER GOING TO END. I THINK THAT THE LIFE OF FANTASY OF TRAFFICKERS ALWAYS HAS A FATAL END. I PREFER TO LIVE A LIFE WITH LIMITATIONS AND A HONEST WORK BUT WITHOUT THE UNCERTAINTY THAT IS LIVED IN THAT UNDERWORLD. Apart from your comments, I believe that Mr. Camilo Torres should be tried in his country. I am against extradition. And I think that the greatest wealth that we should appreciate is health and freedom, the rest comes in addition. How good for traffickers. They are the future of the world. They will dominate all spheres of the economy and politics as they are doing now. Best of humor Well, people believe legends and believe in them blindly. The fact is that crime does not pay and drugs destroy young people, households and families. I heard a comedian saying the following about drugs "that crap, but is so tasty." In short, each one can make with their life what they want and how they want, and as a mom said to her gay child: "Do what you want with your ass." What a nonsense page, I do not like it at all. What is planted is what is harvested. Those are unbreakable laws... It is an unbelievable amount of money, gentlemen. Those who want to be corrupted, it is their decision, but that crap of drugs should be legalized immediately and you will see that all this drug will be cheaper and the traffickers go bankrupt, it stops being so important... live life, it is unique. Hello, my parents are Colombians, I live in Venezuela, but I think that they were the only decent Colombians that came here. I feel ashamed of saying that my forebears are Colombians. In addition to being freeloaders, Colombians come here to commit crimes, selling drugs, kidnapping, bringing paramilitary members to my country. The President meets there with a candidate linked to underworld organizations and as a trophy he shows the cap. That is why I understand the decision of my parents of giving me a better place to live. Easy things do not last. To live a life the way Mr. Torres lived his life is to live in a permanent prison, and as nothing is eternal, he is now harvesting what he sowed. How boring A FATAL ERROR ON THE PART OF A PERSON THAT THOUGHT THAT KNEW EVERYTHING; SHOWING OPULENCE WAS HIS END, GOOD LUCK FRITANGA. They are very crazy indeed. They live their lives in the fast lane because they know that they wonÂ´t last much. If they do not fall prisoners, police kill them or they are killed any member who wants a promotion. I always liked the idea of going out with people who are involved in the world of the narcos, but so far I have not been able to catch one, ha ha ha. I like these stories because not everything ends badly always. Who needs to be captured are the users. Because, if they didn't exist, drug trafficking would also not exist. It's really easy to put the blame solely on the traffickers!