Who was Cali Cartel?
Cali cartel was a drug organization based in Southern Colombia, Cali. The four men executive board was Gilberto Rodriguez, Miguel Rodriguez, Jose Santa Cruz Londono was also known as “Chepe” and Helmer Herrera also known as “Pacho”.
The Cartel was founded in the 1970s by Miguel brothers, but the group got fully active after they were separated from the Medellin Cartel Cali Cartel started initially by selling Marijuana, but due to its less profitability and difficulty in smuggling; they shifted towards the smuggling of cocaine as it was easier to manufacture and supply. The demand of the cocaine was very high in the United States market as it was not in the priority of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency); as they described Cocaine as the less critical and harmful drug than heroin.
All the members of Cali Cartel were from the upper-class society; unlike the other Cartels of their time. They were called the “Los Caballeros de Cali” means “Gentlemen of Cali”. They engaged less in violence and established political connections to establish their business.
Style of work
Cali Cartel learned from the mistakes of Pablo Escobar; Unlike Pablo Escobar who blazed the war against the Colombian government and rival groups. They were less violent and resolved their issues through bribing and their political links. Violence was the last option in Cali Cartel’s agenda list.
Cali cartel had a more professional and systematic approach towards their business. They brought innovative ideas to expand their business, like moving their production to foreign countries and bringing the international chemists to produce the drugs.
Cali Cartel was earning in billions and to show their money is clean they invested steadily in laundering their money eventually, they had a number of upfront business ventures to mask off their cocaine business.
At their prime, Cali Cartel was supplying 90% of the world’s Cocaine and said to be responsible for the growth of the drug market in Europe. They hired the best chemists to produce Cocaine.
Cali Cartel founded a team called “Los Pepes” meaning “People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar”; which was organized for the purpose of bringing down Medellin Cartel and kill Pablo Escobar. Los Pepes provided the information to the Colombian police about the information of the Medellin Cartel and helped them in the operation. Los Pepes said to be responsible for the death of more than 60 members of Medellin Cartel.
Jorge Salcedo a former member of the Colombian military, he was the head of the operations of Cali Cartel, later became the in charge of the personal security of Rodriguez family. Became the reason for the downfall of Cali Cartel’s Empire.
Salcedo turned against them after he was assigned the task to kill the accountant of their Cartel Guillermo Pallomari. Salcedo realizes that Rodriguez brothers can kill him too if they found him of no use. So he felt that he had to make a choice as his life was also in danger along with his family. So he decided to retaliate and became a CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) informant. He gave important information about the business locations of Cali Cartel and pinpointed the location where Rodriguez brothers were hiding.
Gilberto Rodriguez was arrested on June 9, 1995, extradited to the United States on September 26, 2006, and his brother Miguel Rodriguez was captured on August 6, 1995, extradited to the United States on March 11, 2005. Where they were found guilty and both were sentenced for the 30 years in prison.
Santa Cruz Londono aka “Chepe” was killed in an encounter by Colombian police on March 5, 1996. Francisco Helmer Herrera aka “Pacho” was the last of the four members of the group to be arrested on September 1, 1996. On November 4, 1998, he was shot in the prison by Rafael Angel Uribe Serna. Which put an end to the
To know more about the Watch the Netflix exclusive show “Narcos” season 3; it archives the rise of the Cali Cartel after the fall of Pablo Escobar. How they expanded their narcotics business in the United States and the fall of the Cali Cartel after retaliation from Jorge Salcedo.