Colombian police are investigating the murder of eight informants in Cali who were working with U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the disappearance of a further eleven people.
El Tiempo newspaper Wednesday reported on the burials of seven of the men in Cali, which required a military attachment of heavily armed soldiers and two helicopters to patrol and protect those attending the funeral.
According to El Tiempo’s report, the 19 people were murdered or “disappeared” because they were planning to or had given information to agents about drug trafficker Luis Enrique Calle Serna, who, along with his brother Javier Antonio Calle, is known as one half of the “Comba” brothers. The two brothers lead the drug gang “Los Rastrojos” which controls the drug trade in the Colombian Pacific.
Although the crimes are believed to have occurred between November 3 and 5, the prosecutor in Cali only became aware of them last week because of the environment of fear and intimidation created by the drug gangs, El Tiempo reported.
According to court records, Calle Serna was worried about charges against him by U.S. agents, and ordered his men to round up those he suspected were giving information about his organization to the DEA. In turn, DEA investigators were sure someone was leaking the names of informants who have been working with national and foreign agencies in return for rewards.
The investigation includes a massacre at Cali’s Central Cemetery on November 29, which included two men killed who were also suspected informants. El Tiempo reported the two men were connected with Miguel Ángel Mejía, aka, “The Twin,” an accused Colombian drug lord and former paramilitary leader who in March was handed over to DEA agents and extradited to the United States.
The other Mejía, brother, Miguel Ángel, was killed days before his brother’s arrest.