Colombian authorities said Monday they have arrested the link between the Mexican Gulf cartel and Colombian drug traffickers.
Police arrested Andres Vieda Duque, alias, “The Duke”, on drug trafficking charges in the city of Cali during a series of raids on Friday. Duque was allegedly the primary associate of Jorge Eduardo Costilla, alias “El Coss,” the head of the Mexican Gulf drug trafficking organization, in Colombia.
According to authorities, Duque was responsible for managing the business of the Mexican cartel from Colombia. Police allege he facilitated the shipment of approximately 500 kilos of cocaine hydrochloride to Central America per month, which was then distributed by his Mexican partners.
Duque is also alleged to have consolidated alliances in Africa, the US, Peru, Chile, the Netherlands and Spain on behalf of the cartel.
In addition to Duque, police also arrested two more suspects, allegedly responsible for transporting and camouflaging the drugs and stashing nearly $900,000 of cartel funds in the house of a relative before it was stolen.
The investigation into Duque and his associates began in mid-2010. On July 5, Costa Rican authorities, in partnership with US federal agencies, captured Juan Manuel Garcia, alias “El Guero,” a Mexican citizen identified as the right-hand man of Costilla.
Police claim Garcia’s arrest forced Duque to personally oversee the loading and delivery of drug shipments in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama, making his movements more vulnerable to detection.
The Gulf Cartel is one of the oldest and most powerful of Mexico’s criminal groups.