The drug trafficker Eduardo Restrepo Victoria, known as “El Socio,” was captured at Bogota’s El Dorado airport, local media reported Tuesday.
El Socio, an important associate of the now-defunct Valle del Cauca-based Norte del Valle Cartel, was captured Tuesday morning while getting off a recently-arrived flight from the United States. According to various news sources, the suspected drug trafficker was deported to Colombia after having served a six-year sentence in an American prison for drug trafficking.
Colombian police said El Socio was one of the most important drug traffickers in Colombia’s southwestern Tolima department. In the 1990s, he began to make “unexplainable fortunes” as the Norte del Valle cartel bosses started to move operations to rural parts of Tolima in order to avoid persecution from authorities.
According to Colombian intelligence documents, “at the end of the 1990s various Colombian drug traffickers met in Venezuela and determined the responsibility of controlling to drug trade in Tolima was [El Socio’s] responsibility.”
El Socio owned several restaurants, nightclubs and mansions through “fronts,” meaning legal owners.
El Socio was first captured in 2006 and extradited to the United States, where he finished his sentence in 2012, only to find himself deported to Colombia on new charges Tuesday morning.
The suspected drug trafficker is considered one of the key witnesses in the investigation against Tolima Senator Humberto Gomez Gallo, who is current under investigation by Colombia’s Supreme Court for having suspected links to now-demobilized paramilitary groups.