Photo: Bricks of cocaine
Drug enforcement agents seized one ton of cocaine on a highway in northwestern Colombia that was bound for Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, the National Police said.
The cocaine was hidden in a truck that had picked it up in the Magdalena River basin and was hauling it to Medellin, the capital of the northwestern province of Antioquia.
The cocaine, which has a street value of $35 million, was packed in 866 bricks hidden in a false compartment in the truck, whose driver was arrested.
The shipment belonged to the Oficina de Envigado, a drug gang created in the 1980s by late Medellin cartel boss Pablo Escobar.
The gang is based in Envigado, a city near Medellin, and was led by Erickson Vargas, who was arrested last Wednesday in a police raid.
The seizure was made in Caldas, a town near Medellin, by drug enforcement agents who had received a tip from an informant, officials said.
The cocaine was being smuggled to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, which is led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman.
Guzman, Mexico’s most-wanted man, has been on the list of U.S. drug kingpins since June 1, 2001.
The Sinaloa organization, sometimes referred to by officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and has an extensive drug distribution network in the United States.
Guzman, who was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and pulled off a Hollywood-style jailbreak when he escaped from the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in the western state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001, is considered the most powerful drug trafficker in the world.
Chapo Guzman tops the list of Mexico’s 37 most-wanted criminals and is on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people.
The Sinaloa cartel, according to intelligence agencies, is a transnational business empire that operates in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Americas and Asia.