‘El Condor’ arrested: A blow to the Sinaloa Cartel’s operations in Colombia

Joint operation ends 'El Condor's' reign, unearthing a covert drug network intertwining indigenous villages and the international underworld.

Colombian and US authorities have dismantled an organization operating in La Guajira, in the extreme north of Colombia, which, associated with the Sinaloa Cartel, had trafficked more than 90 tons of cocaine since 2021, Colombian police said Tuesday.

“According to the evidence, this organization would have been involved in more than 30 coordinations of narcotics shipments in the last two and a half years, with destination to Central America and the United States, valued at 1.8 billion dollars,” said the director general of the National Police, General William René Salamanca Ramírez.

During “Operation New Horizon,” led by the police in coordination with the Colombian Navy, the Attorney General’s Office, and US authorities, the alleged top leader of this organization, Edicto Segundo Castañeda Hernández, known as “El Condor,” was arrested in Uribia (La Guajira).

This capo used Wayuunaiki – the language of the indigenous Wayuus living in that area – to communicate and go unnoticed, but police were able to establish that he ran “a powerful criminal organization with tentacles with the Mexican Sinaloa cartel, led by Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada Garcia,” according to a statement.

Might be interesting:

The organization used ranches – the villages where the Wayúus live – to stockpile drugs, which were moved from Catatumbo, southeast along the Venezuelan border, to Alta Guajira “using Colombian and Venezuelan trails and the waters of the Gulf of Coquivacoa, either by using 350 pickup trucks or speedboats”.

They also had semi-submersibles and motorboats with which they transported the drugs to the high seas, according to police reports, which they left on deep-sea vessels that took them to Mexico and the United States.

According to police, the organization shipped up to eight tons of drugs monthly to Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and, eventually, the United States.