A US national was arrested in Colombia’s second largest city for allegedly having ties to the Sinaloa Cartel, one of Mexico’s most powerful drug trafficking organizations, national Vanguardia newspaper reported on Thursday.
David James Martin, who is allegedly wanted by US authorities on charges of drug trafficking, was arrested in Medellin on Thursday by agents from Colombia’s Immigration Agency.
The agency, whose members were acting on a tip provided by a Colombian citizen, stated that “Information provided by various international security agencies indicates that David James Martin belongs to the Sinaloa Cartel.”
Authorities say that Martin, who was in Colombia illegally, arrived in the country on February 5 to escape a war between rival cartels. The suspect has two prior convictions in the state of Florida for both drug and human trafficking.
The immigration agency revealed that Martin can be extradited if US officials choose to do so.
Sinaloa influence in Colombia
The Sinaloa Cartel is among the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in the world, and has a significant presence throughout South America, particularly Colombia.
The organized crime analysis website, InSight Crime, reported that in 2013, Colombia’s largest rebel group , the FARC, was selling coca plantations and laboratories to the cartel in anticipation of a potential peace agreement with the Colombian government.
“Intelligence reports suggest that the Sinaloans are currently expanding throughout Colombia, controlling coca plantations and cocaine processing labs near the border with Ecuador, and operating in Antioquia and Cordoba provinces in the north and in Norte de Santander, which borders Venezuela,” an analysis by the website stated.
The cartel’s expansion into Colombia, according to InSight, is a reaction to the Colombian authorities’ success against drug trafficking groups operating in the country, which has led to a decline in the quality of the product reaching Mexico.