A Federal Court in New York sentenced Colombian drug trafficker Hernando Gomez, 55, alias “Rasguño,” to 30 years in prison for, among other charges, smuggling cocaine into the United States.

Rasguño is charged with trafficking at least 550 tons of cocaine into the United States, having paramilitary alliances, committing various murders and cases of money laundering.

Hailing from Valle del Cauca in southern Colombia, Rasguño joined the Norte del Valle cartel in 1986 after he met former cartel boss Jose Henao while working at a gas station. Following the death of Henao, Rasguño rose qucikly and soon became one of the head bosses in the cartel.

Later, after the collapse of the Medellin and Cali cartels with the death of Pablo Escobar and the capture of the Rodriguez brothers, the cartel expanded greatly to fill the ever-constant demand for cocaine in the United States and Europe.

During his rise to drug trafficking power, Rasguño became a key partner of the paramilitaries operating in the country.

However, in 2004, Rasguño was captured in Cuba with a fake passport. In 2007, he was transferred to Colombia, and in the same year, extradited to the United States.

Rasguño’s capture is part of the US-led international war against drugs.

A recently leaked United Nation’s document, featured on Observer, shows that fault lines are growing in Latin America as countries such as Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico have become increasingly critical of US-led prohibition efforts, claiming that the war leads to profits for cartels and the strengthening of policies that support paramilitary groups in the region.



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