One of the alleged leaders of Medellin crime syndicate Oficina de Envigado was arrested by the authorities on Sunday, only to be released a couple of hours later after it turned out there was no arrest warrant to his name.
PROFILE: Oficina de Envigado
“Fredy Colas,” whose real name is unclear, is presumed to be one of the heads of the violent organized crime network that supersedes local gangs and urban militias in Colombia’s second largest city.
The alleged capo was arrested by members of the National Police’s criminal investigation unit SIJIN on Sunday morning in one of Medellin’s most popular nightlife districts, Las Palmas.
However, four hours later he was set free when a Medellin judge found no warrant for the alleged kingpin’s arrest.
“Investigative processes against Salazar are underway, but there is no arrest warrant nor any concrete judicial decisions regarding his detention,” explained Medellin’s chief of police, General Jose Angel Mendoza.
All this despite the fact that Colas has been named as one of the successors of former Oficina boss “Sebastian” in 2012, has been linked to a 2013 massacre in Medellin and has been included by the United States on the kingpin list, a blacklist containing foreign nationals with alleged ties to international drug trafficking operations.
According to Semana magazine, it wasn’t until the US officials turned their attention to “Colas” as a heavyweight drug-trafficker and money launderer in June this year, that Colombian police learned the extent of his criminal history. Media reported then already that Colas had no arrest warrant against him.
“For the United States he is a real criminal. But for general Mendoza and SIJIN he is not,” said Fernando Quijano, the director of the Corpades NGO.
Colas was a partner and close friend of Medellin kingpin “Sebastian” who was extradited to the US in October, 2013. They grew up together in the Buenos Aires district in Medellin. Colas is thought to be the heir of “Sebastian” as one of the bosses of the “Oficina de Envigado” cartel.
The Medellin police department announced Colas’ arrest once before, in 2012, but apparently failed to indict him then, too.
Television network RCN reported that authorities hope to file an arrest warrant as soon as possible.
The Oficina de Envigado is a crime syndicate founded by slain drug lord Pablo Escobar in the 1980s as an enforcer army for the Medellin Cartel. The organization was taken over by paramilitary warlord “Don Berna,” who had taken part in police and paramilitary intents to take down Colombia’s most infamous criminal in history.
The organization controls most of Medellin’s gangs and has been alleged to have merged with paramilitary successor group “Los Urabeños” in order to consolidate control over Medellin’s underworld and the city’s prominent role as drug trafficking hub.