A former high-ranking drug trafficker from the Cali Cartel, recently returned to Colombia, may have allied with the neo-paramilitary group “Los Urabeños” in order to displace competitor band “Los Rastrojos” from the Valle del Cauca department, newspaper El Tiempo reported Tuesday.
Investigators have reported that former drug trafficker Victor Patiño Fomeque, alias “El Quimico,” from the now-defunct Cali Cartel, may have allied with “Los Urabeños” in order to resume operations in the southwest Colombian department and displace the “Combas” brothers, the leadership of second criminal band, “Los Rastrojos,” from the region.
According to authorities, the invitation to join forces with the criminal band may have come from alias “Martin Bala,” who forms part of “Los Urabeños” and also has a bad history with “Los Rastrojos,” after suffering a 2005 attack on the orders of the Combas.
“This attack could be one of the motivations of ‘Bala’ for also wanting to take revenge on the ‘Comba’,” said an official, adding that violence in Cali has increased significantly since the return of Bala and Patiño.
Police intelligence operatives received information four months ago that Patiño, who spent six years in a U.S. jail, had returned to Colombia, with the reported objective of “recovering” what had been taken from him and avenging the deaths of his close friends and family.
Patiño was a former high-ranking member of the Cali Cartel who was arrested by Colombian authorities in 1995 and extradited to the U.S. in 2002 to face drug charges. After spending six years in an American prison, he was released and placed into a witness protection program in the U.S. in 2008.
His parents, wife, three sons and sister had to join him in witness protection after several other family members, friends, and associates were killed after Patiño began cooperating with U.S. authorities in bringing down fellow Colombian narco-traffickers.