Colombia police captured a powerful and affluent criminal known as the “Gold Czar” in the northern central department of Antioquia, local media reported Wednesday.
Although police still have not released much information on Jairo Hugo Escobar, alias the “Gold Czar,” due to the danger and sensitivity surrounding the capture, Escobar was apprehended on Saturday in the Medellin airport headed to the Caribbean beach town of Cartagena.
Authorities have indicated that the “Gold Czar” will be charged with conspiracy to commit murder, formation of illegal groups and forced displacement and illegal enrichment, according to newspaper El Espectador.
The feared and respected man is allegedly tied to the “Rastrojos” crime syndicate as their principal “funder” in the region and commanded an atmosphere of fear through his economic and muscle power in Segovia and Remedios, municipalities located in the northeast of Antioquia.
One unnamed resident of Segovia spoke to El Espectador of the fear that Jairo Hugo instilled in the community, that “to speak of Jairo Hugo in this region is to put a bullet in the head, because he can buy the authorities… You put in a complaint and within 24 hours you’re dead.”
Jairo Hugo allegedly owned gold mining titles and “moved through the world of legality smoothly,” maintaining all the necessary legal licences and permits for his gold mining operations in Antioquia, although media sources reported that he also extracted gold illegally, an operation increasingly tied to drug trafficking and criminal organizations and their bloody business.