Colombia’s ombudsman has expressed concern over the apparent appearance of the Sinaloa Cartel in the south of the country, according to news agency EFE.
Ombudsman Carlos Negret said at a public forum organised by the Human Rights Committee of the Colombian House of Representatives on Friday that members of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartel have been spotted in Caqueta, a province historically marred by guerrilla violence.
In his speech, Negret implored the government to take action in the historically neglected southern province, House Representative Harry Gonzalez (Liberal Party) told EFE.
The national ombudsman has made a serious claim about the presence of Mexican drug traffickers. The Sinaloa Cartel is present in the department of Caqueta. I believe that this generates an urgent alert for the Prosecutor General’s Office and the security forces.
House Representative Harry Gonzalez
The presence of Mexican drug traffickers in Colombia is as old as the Medellin Cartel, but the Sinaloa Cartel has allegedly been increasing its presence in the country after the demobilization of the FARC, its former trading partner.
If the ombudsman’s claims are true, the Southeastern Block, the largest FARC dissident group, led by former FARC mid-level commander “Gentil Duarte,” could have taken over the FARC’s former trade deals with the Sinaloa Cartel in the region.
Duarte never recognized the peace process that followed a peace deal between his former guerrilla organization and the government of President Juan Manuel Santos. He has since tried to take over the FARC’s rackets in the south and southeast of the country.
Last year, former Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez said that FARC dissidents led by the late “Guacho” in the southwestern tip of Colombia were receiving arms from the Mexican organized crime organization cartel, going as far as calling the Frente Oliver Sinisterra (FOS) the “military wing” of the Sinaloa Cartel in the southwest.