Former sworn enemies from criminal clans based in Colombia’s violence capital, Cali, have brokered an alliance from prison, according to security forces, which if successful could shape the underworld in one of Colombia’s key drug trafficking regions.
According to security forces sources cited by El Pais, one of the principal figures in what remains of the Rastrojos — once Colombia’s most powerful criminal organization — has come to an agreement with a group of drug traffickers whose war against the Rastrojos has been driving violence in Cali since 2011.
Jorge Eliecer Dominguez Falla, alias “Palustre,” reportedly paid $2 million and turned over several properties to seal an alliance with drug lords with whom he is incarcerated in La Picota prison. Among them are former Machos leader Hector Mario Urdinola, alias “Chicho,” the son of a former Norte Del Valle Cartel (NDVC) drug trafficker Greylin Varon, alias “Martin Bala,” and Orlando Gutierrez, alias “El Negro Orlando,” a key contact for Colombia’s dominant criminal organization, the Urabeños.
According to El Pais, Cali’s major daily, the object of the agreement is to create one unified criminal organization to manage drug trafficking routes and street level drug sales in Valle del Cauca, a region in south west Colombia that for decades has been one of the epicenters of the Colombian drug trade.
If confirmed, the agreement between Palustre and his former enemies represents a remarkable twist in a conflict that has roots reaching back into the bitter and bloody infighting that tore apart what had been Colombia’s most important drug cartel — the NDVC. The result of such an agreement, bringing in the remnants of the Rastrojos and the Machos and other regional criminal players into an alliance that also involves the Urabeños, would be a formidable criminal federation.
The Urabeños recently struck a similar deal in Medellin with their former rivals the Oficina de Envigado. This means both traditional capitals of the Colombian cocaine trade could now be on the verge of resurgence. With the Urabeños claiming a stake in both cities, they would have the ability to act as guarantors, raising the possibility that, unlike in the past, Medellin and Cali would complement each other rather than compete.
However, the situation in Valle is complicated by dissident factions of the Rastrojos that are not part of the pact and the recent return of a drug lord from the long dead Cali Cartel, who security forces believe is trying to reclaim lost territories. In addition, over the years drug trafficking in the region has been riven with betrayal and infighting, casting doubt on the sustainability of any agreement.