Investigations into the “Los Combas” brothers drug cartel’s money laundering activities landed a group of Bogota soccer team investors in hot water, following the arrest of four of the drug trafficking organization’s point-men
One of the four men arrested is Ricardo Villarraga Franco, alias “El Profesional,” who is the father of one of Bogota soccer team Independiente Santa Fe’s players.
The soccer team’s president, Cesar Pastrana, said he was informed by the director of Colombia’s National Anti-narcotics and Maritime Interdiction Unit, Ana Margarita Duran, on Wednesday about the investigation into the illicit investments into his team.
According to the Pastrana, the four individuals who were arrested have nothing to do with his team, “They do not appear on the team registry, they are not shareholders, they are not directors. The only link is that one of them is the father of one of our players, a player who happens to come from our team’s lower division.”
The team also published a press release on their website offering transparency and openness for authorities “to comprehensively review… and individually analyze each member and, or shareholder.”
El Tiempo reported on Thursday that, according to a source close to the investigation, the four men who were arrested on Tuesday in an international operation collaborated with a group of Colombian emerald dealers to launder their drug money, by purchasing shares in the Independiente Santa Fe team.
According to El Tiempo, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who participated in the investigation and arrest of the four Colombians, has detailed evidence, such as intercepted communications, witness testimonies, and documents, which implicates the four arrested men in the drug cartel’s money laundering operations.
Independiente Santa Fe is not the first Colombian soccer team to be implicated in a narco-trafficking, money laundering investigation. The team “El America” from the city of Cali was added to “Clinton’s List,” a black-list by the U.S. Department of Treasury, for receiving money from the Cali Cartel.