A reported business partner of El Chapo has been arrested in a joint operation by the FBI and the Colombian authorities on suspicion of recruiting pilots to fly cocaine into the USA.
The judicial police in Colombia have confirmed that after two years of investigation and with the support and cooperation of the US authorities 36 alleged drug traffickers who allegedly provided cocaine for Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel have been arrested.
The operation, which involved the FBI, saw 36 arrests made in the last 40 days in 12 of the 32 departments in Colombia. Thirty-four of the suspects are of Colombian nationality along with one Mexican man and a Venezuelan man. All of them reportedly had extradition warrants in the US, Spain, Argentina, Brazil and Peru.
According to investigators, the international gang was led by a Colombian man nicknamed ‘Jaison’, who had links and was former partners with El Chapo.
Jaison is said to have also worked with El Chapo’s son Ovidio Guzman, who was recently arrested and then released by Mexican authorities due to a wave of violence which hit the city of Culiacan after his detention.
Local media report he was allegedly in charge of recruiting pilots in Mexico to then travel to Colombia, pick up cocaine and fly the illicit cargo to the United States.
According to Fabio Lopez, director of DIJIN (Direccion de Investigacion Criminal e Interpol – Direction of Criminal and Interpol Investigation), “they transported drugs in small planes to Central America, and to Mexico, with final their final destination the United States. They sent between 309 and 599 kilogrammes (681 and 1320 lbs) of drugs, valued at around 5 million USD (3.9 million GBP)”.
The gang reportedly had the logistic support of air controllers, one of the suspects was a female air controller at Barranquilla airport in northern Colombia, and was in charge of preventing alerts being sent to the authorities, making entering and leaving the country easier, according to a police press statement said.
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