FARC Leader Who Shipped Cocaine in Submarines Dies
By Dialogo October 24, 2011
A leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), accused of coordinating shipments of cocaine to the Mexican cartels by submarine, died on October 20, in a bombardment by the Armed Forces, the Government announced.
José Neftalí Umenza, alias “Mincho,” commander of the FARC’s Front 30 and sought for extradition by the United States, died together with four other rebels in a jungle area near the city of Buenaventura, in the department of El Valle.
“He was a leading drug trafficker, he was a supplier of finance, responsible for multiple terrorist actions, crimes, and the export of drugs, to Central America in particular,” Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón said.
The official affirmed that the Armed Forces calculate that alias “Mincho” supplied about 30 percent of the total resources received by the FARC.
Colombia was offering a reward of almost a million dollars for information on the location of the rebel leader, who spent over 40 years in the FARC, a group confronting the Armed Forces in an internal conflict lasting almost five decades.
“This criminal was in direct contact with the Mexican cartels; that was his chief activity. This is a blow to the backbone of the FARC’s finances,” Pinzón affirmed at a press conference.
The dead guerrilla leader, who operated in the jungles of the Colombian Pacific coast, participated in actions such as the 2002 kidnapping of 12 legislators, 11 of whom were murdered by the rebels five years later, as well as a 1991 attack on a military base in which 18 Marines died.
The FARC have been weakened since 2002 by a military offensive, supported by the United States, in which important commanders have died, while thousands of fighters have deserted.
Submarines have become one of the chief methods for shipping Colombian cocaine, according to security sources.