Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel has sent arms and troops to Medellin in an attempt to increase military support for two of Colombia’s most powerful criminal organizations, according to local newspaper El Tiempo.
A Mexican emissary known by his alias “El Tatuado” met with Medellin bosses of the local crime syndicate Oficina de Envigado and the nationally operating neo-paramilitary group Los Urabeños at a summit two weeks ago, said the newspaper.
PROFILE: Oficina de Envigado
The Sinaloa Cartel subsequently delivered 60 rifles to the two groups who admittedly united to control the underworld of Medellin, and important drug trafficking hub in Colombia.
“We have heard from victims of displacements and disappearances that foreigners are present in [Medellin neighborhoods]. They report the presence of Mexicans,” said ombudsman for human rights Jesus Sanchez.
The meeting was confirmed by local crime investigator Fernando Quijano who told weekly Semana that the meeting was attended by several gang leaders within Oficina or Urabeños-controlled areas in the east, center and west of the city.
Medellin Public Security Secretary Sergio Vargas told local radio station Blu that this claim is not supported by evidence.
However, a local police intelligence official confirmed to weekly Semana that the Sinaloa Cartel has sent weapons to Medellin, “but I assure you it’s not a gift,” said the official.
The Sinaloa Cartel has has ties to Colombian drug traffickers since the 1990s and reportedly is particularly interested in the highway connecting Medellin to the Uraba region.
This road, mainly controlled by the Urabeños but also partly in FARC-controlled territory, has traditionally been crucial from criminal organizations sending drugs from Medellin, a local hub, to the Caribbean.