Martin Emilio Sanches Valencia, alias “Erika” was captured by police in Bogota thanks to a government strategy that targets criminal gangs and allows sharing of information between Colombia’s Criminal Investigation Department and international police force, INTERPOL.
According to Bogota police, “Erika” was initially captured with the identification of a deceased person, and upon attempting to identify the assailant, experts realized that “Erika” had received surgery to try and alter his fingerprints.
The captured leader is currently wanted for charges of homicide, theft, facilitating prison breaks, drug trafficking, carrying illegal firearms and conspiracy.
Unlike the majority of other major Colombian drug trafficking organizations, the Rastrojos is not formed from the demobilized paramilitary organization AUC, but has its origins in the now-extinct Cali and the Norte del Valle cartels.
The organization suffered a series of major setbacks in 2012; in May last year, “El Doctor” surrendered to U.S. authorities and a month later, founder “Diego Rastrojo” was arrested in Venezuela. In September, one of their key allies, “El Loco Barrera” was also arrested inside Venezuelan territory. Only weeks later, “Comba” also gave up and surrendered to the DEA in Panama.
Following the capture, arrest, and extradition of former leader, “Diego Rastrojos,” “Erika” became the primary leader of the drug trafficking organisation.