Colombian criminal Juan José Valencia, alias Falcón, has been extradited to the United States. “Falcón, identified by [Colombian] authorities as the most senior narcotrafficker in the Clan del Golfo,” CNN reported, is wanted by the U.S. Southern District Court for the Southern District of Florida on charges of drug trafficking and shipment of illicit drugs abroad.
The Clan del Golfo’s operations includefinancing coca crops and drug production not only in Colombia, but also in neighboring countries.
“Cocaine production is outsourced to local criminal organizations in the three producing countries of Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia,” General (ret.) Miguel Hidalgo Medina, former director general of the Peruvian National Police, told Diálogo on August 25.
Alias Falcón was among the biggest narcotraffickers in the Clan del Golfo, “in addition to being the main partner to shipdrugs abroad of Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias Otoniel, who was arrested in October 2021 and extradited in May 2022,” General Jorge Luis Vargas, former director general of the Colombian National Police, told CNN. Alias Otoniel was the top leader of the Clan del Golfo and Colombia’s most wanted narcotrafficker.
“The Clan del Golfo wanted to control the Amazon route in South America, but the Brazilian Red Command won the battle and handed out positions in the Amazon,” Gen. Hidalgo added. “The Brazilian criminal organization is in charge of transport and the Clan del Golfo takes care ofproduction.”
According to the Colombian Police, aliasFalcón shipped some 8 tons of cocaine base paste per month from Barranquilla, Cartagena, and Santa Marta in Colombia to the United States, Central America, and Europe. “In addition, Falcón was in charge of collecting the revenues from the Clan del Golfo’s narcotrafficking [activities] and collecting taxes from other traffickers who used its routes,” CNN reported.
For Gen. Vargas, the main impact of this extradition process is the blow to the finances of the Clan del Golfo.
The fight continues
The Clan del Golfo exports drugs to major consumer markets such as the United States, Europe, and Asia, Carlos Morán Soto, former director of Peru’s Anti-Terrorist Police, told Diálogo. “They cover the entire international logistics and transportation chain from production, storage, and distribution zones,” he said.
According to Moran, in the first step, clan del Golfo representatives travel and do face-to-face coordination work for the reception and transfer of drugs in producing countries, mainly Colombia and Peru. However, they also operate with intermediary or transit countries in ports of Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, and Argentina.
In May 2022, the Colombian government reported the capture of more than 2,800 members of the Clan del Golfo, including 110 leaders in some 1,200 operations carried out by Colombian security forces.
On August 3, the Colombian Police confirmed the extradition of Yonny Cano Linares, alias Llanero, whose mission in the criminal organization was to move cocaine for alias Otoniel between the Caribbean coast and the Eastern Plains of Colombia, reported Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.
According to Colombia’s Justice Ministry, six members of the Clan del Golfo have already been extradited to the United States.
In the last four years, more than 700 criminals have been extradited, more particularly to the United States and Europe for narcotrafficking and other crimes. “This means that the fight against narcotrafficking continues, it is a struggle of mankind,” Gen. Vargas told daily El Colombiano.