Former paramilitary Martin Farfan, a.k.a. “Pijarvey,” is building an increasingly impressive drug empire from the ruins of his former group ERPAC, according to crime website InSight Crime.
Pijarvey is the leader of the “Libertadores del Vichada,” a group that emerged from the paramilitary group Popular Revolutionary Anti-Terrorist Army of Colombia (ERPAC), which at its height controlled Colombia’s eastern plains, an area known as the key to drug trafficking.
PROFILE: Libertadores del Vichada
The group rose to dominance when Rubber Antonio Navarro, alias “Flaco Fredy”, leader of a rival narco-paramilitary group the Meta Bloc got arrested as well as the group’s main backer, extradited drug lord Daniel “El Loco” Barrera.
The Libertadores and Meta Bloc both emerged from neo-paramilitary group ERPAC and have fought to control the eastern plains’ drug routes for three years.
According to Insight Crime, Pijarvey now controls a 250-strong organization and a vast drug trafficking empire that includes coca crops, cocaine processing laboratories, and drug trafficking routes to Venezuela in the central and eastern states of Meta, Vichada, and Guaviare.
And apparently Pijarvey lives by the old saying “give a finger, and he’ll take the whole hand,” his recent expansions shows that the eastern plains isn’t enough. In March, security forces dismanteld a large Libertadores Del Vichada cocaine storage center in the province of Casanara, north of Pijarbey’s traditional stronghold.
Aside the drug trafficker’s expansion to the north, Colombian police have arrested nine men allegedly in the process of establishing a drug trafficking route near the country’s southern border with Brazil and Peru. And on July 19, authorities arrested three airline employees and 21 others who operated out of El Dorado airport who allegedly bought cocaine from the Libertadores.
But Pijarvey’s ambitions could come at the price of time behind bars. As he has expanded police have been closing in on him, arresting the new cocaine baron’s closest advisor, Edison Gullermo Velasquez Alvares, alias “Farid” in April 2013. Farid’s arrest came in the wake of the group’s urban hitman network’s second-in-command.
In January 2014, the group’s financial chief and the drug trafficker’s right-hand were both captured in the space of a week and in June 2014 police managed to arrest Pijarvey’s brother.