Colombia’s prosecution said Thursday that it has arrested the alleged boss of the drug trafficking organization that offered free holidays abroad to poor people which ended up killing 24.
Jesus David Santofimio, the alleged boss of the group that trafficked drugs on fake tourist buses, was arrested in Florencia, the capital of the southern Caqueta province.
The suspected drug trafficker will not be charged with the death of 24 passengers in one of these tours in Ecuador last week. Instead, he will have to appear in court on drug trafficking, conspiracy and money laundering charges, the Prosecutor General’s Office announced on Twitter.
His organisation allegedly convinced unknowing people from some of the most marginalized communities in Cali to accept a free holiday abroad and effectively function as a cover to avoid suspicion of drug trafficking.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, reports on the deadly crash spurred one member of the organization to repent and surrender himself to the authorities.
The bodies of the victims returned to Cali, Valle del Cauca, on Wednesday where families have begun burying the loved ones that died in the Ecuador bus tragedy.
In total, seven people have been arrested in association with the fatal crash of a fake tourism bus that, according to Ecuadorean authorities, was trafficking 80 kilos of cocaine and half a ton of marijuana.
Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine and also a significant producer of heroin and marijuana. Much of the drugs are exported to the US and Europe, the world’s largest drug consumption markets.
Drug trafficking organizations have been expanding their businesses to other countries in Latin America that has seen an increase in drug use superior to the traditional markets in developed countries in the north.