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Norte Del Valle Cartel

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Submitted By Pearlithea
Words 1927
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Joubert, Pearlithea
Essay Norte del Valle Cartel: its Downfall

I. HISTORY The Norte Del Valle Cartel was among the most powerful illegal drug trafficking organizations operating in the United States. The Norte Valle Cartel was based off of the Valle del Cauca of Colombia, but smuggled tons of cocaine into the U.S. The estimated amount of cocaine exported weighed roughly 500 tons and racked in an estimated amount of $10 billion dollars since the mid 1990s. With the financial cushion the organization did buy many informants and influenced many high priority officials that would even give escorted security against any enemy organization that would try to rob them. The Norte De Valle Cartel was brought together after the downfall of the Cali Cartel where the former leaders who were not in custody banded together. Ramon Quintero Sanclemente was regarded as a high-ranking member of the Norte Valle Cartel and was even given a capture reward of $5 million dollars. He was also held as one of the top 10 most wanted DEA drug traffickers in the world. He was regarded as one of the last known leaders of the organization and a major Mexican drug cartel asset who helped import large amounts of top quality cocaine into the United States approximately 50 metric tons.

II. FINDINGS Back in 2007, the FBI captured the Norte Valle Cartel’s kingpin Diego Montoya Sanchez. Sanchez, also known as “Don Diego,” was captured by the army in the Cartel’s stronghold in Colombia. Sanchez had been on the top ten of the FBI’s most wanted for exporting tons of cocaine to the United States. His arrest came in the midst of a civil turf war between another widely known drug lord: Wilber Varela. The battles between the two left behind hundreds of dead cartel militia members. This also created vulnerability within the cartel that the Colombian army used to capture Sanchez. Before Don Diego’s capture, however, the Cartel organization was split into two, the Machos and the Rastrojos and the war between both organizations called “the war of the snitches” caused an outcry for government intervention (Bargent). In a 2009 press release, Sanchez was said to have been sentenced to 45 years in prison for charges of cocaine trafficking, murder, and racketeering. Sanchez pleaded guilty to all charges. His sentencing was the conclusion of a decade’s worth of investigation in order to bring Sanchez to justice. According to the FBI, at its height the Norte Del Valle Cartel was responsible for 60 percent of all cocaine that brought into the United States. The Norte Valle Cartel received another major blow with the death of its other top leader Wilber Varela aka Jabor. According to the Washington Post, the once police-officer drug lord was found shot to death in Venezuela back in 2009. This left the remainder of the Norte Del Valle Cartel disorganized.

III. FUTURE EXPECTATIONS In 2002-2010 Colombian president Alvaro Uribe was a top U.S ally in Latin America for his “aggressive” stance which was represented by the transportation of 500 Colombians to the U.S. with the best part being drug traffickers. In reward for the countries assistance United-States gave them $700 million for anti-narcotic aid ( AP ). Now that the two top leaders of the Norte Valle Cartel are no longer in operation the Colombian government is trying to prevent another drug ring from forming again. The problem with the downfall of the Norte Valle Cartel and the Colombian Government trying to restrict a new drug ring from forming again is that it would be unlikely. With the organization being split into two, one will fall and a new one would form with “bad blood” and power. These two weak organizations would now fall into the power of the Urabenos another drug cartel in Colombia. Turf wars for drug trafficking routes would be slaughtered over with even the displacement of 19,000 people from the city of Buenaventura; a key location for the distribution of drugs. (Kraul). These turf wars and shoot outs for control of sea ports is alarming to both U.S and the Colombian government for the amount of money invested to control and maintain the violence. However, many officials in Colombia themselves are either influenced or persuaded to allow the behavior to continue or are either in the drug organization themselves. The future of the drug organization: Norte de Valle Cartel is bleak. As the Machos are aligning with the Urabenos and the Rastrojo’s are slowly getting weaker and weaker and will eventually lose control of its routes to the Urabenos (Crime). Therefore most attention committed by the Colombian Government would be focused on tracking the leaders of another Cartel while keeping the Rastrojos targets as high priority as well. An article written by InSight Crime explains the relationship between the downfall of the Rastrojos and the rising of the Urabenos:
Colombian law enforcement sources believe that the group's ranks have been cut by some 20 percent in recent years, leaving it with just 1,600 members. With the Rastrojos on the decline, it is believed that groups like the Urabeños are poised to take advantage of their weakness and move into their territory … Rastrojos fell apart, and struggles between the two groups have ensued as the Urabeños have muscled into Valle del Cauca and north Colombia (Crime). Future expectations could transition into the rise of the Urabenos and how they have maintained their status in the recent years of world Globalization and rapid development in technology. The Norte de Valle Cartel seems to have been a big player in the 1990s in the age of the “cocaine cowboys” but as history has witnessed their resources are now entirely used by another organization. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) officials worked with Colombian drug officials to learn about the inner workings of NDVC's operations. The crackdown on drug labs were also important since it would represent an important piece in the supply chain. The two teams also wiretapped phones listening to conversation the cartel bosses had with their wives and mistresses. In fact, the way one of the cartel bosses, Claudio Silva, was apprehended was following a conversation he had with one of his mistresses. The net result of the investigation of the I.C.E. and Colombian police were able to seriously destroy the infrastructure of NDVC. Considering the extent of drug trafficking in the United States, it would seem that taking down NDVC has little impact on the operations of the many drug cartels. However, the importance of the investigation and ultimate acquisition of the bosses of NDVC is in the fact that the methods utilized can be applied to new cases. In addition, the onus is on the drug cartels to find new business models, new forms of shipment, new money laundering techniques, and new locations for drug labs. In essence, each subsequent investigation and take down of a drug cartel makes it more difficult for existing cartels to maintain their form of business. This then is the true benefit of taking the risks associated with trying to take down a drug cartel. It demonstrates an example of how not even the most prolific of drug cartels is impenetrable to the long arm of the law.

IV. CONCLUDING OPINIONS I believe it is of paramount importance to search for drug homes since they are effectively banks for drug cartels. Most of the exposed drug houses are stashed with large sums of money and extensive arsenals of weapons. The difficulty in findings such locations is due to the arbitrary nature of knowing a certain location is a drug house. In fact, in order to infiltrate a drug cartel in most cases there is undercover work involved. For example, an undercover cop might start out as a small-time customer of drugs. From there the undercover cop will learn hot spots for drug transactions. Often at times, an undercover cop will seek out to become a drug dealer so as to enter the circle of the drug cartel. Once a member, the undercover cop will earn the trust of other members in the drug cartel and it is only a matter of time before the location of the drug house would be known. As stated in the previous paragraph, the most important element of a drug cartel are the drug homes which are the principle financial centers of operations. An effective approach to compromising the operations of a drug cartel is then to take into custody the large supplies of drug money found in these drug homes. The drug money is the driving force to the cartel in its entirety because there are drug dealers who need to be paid and there are suppliers who need to be paid as well. Moreover, given the dangerous nature of the drug world there are also means of security for a price. The extent of corruption associated with a drug cartel also means that government officials could also be involved as having someone on the inside is of great value to a drug cartel. An insider provides ties to well-established organizations and also insider knowledge of the workings of the central government. In such cases, it is also common for such officials to be paid a significant sum of money as a way of maintaining the relationship. As the case with the Norte del Valle Cartel (NDVC) proved, the reach and resourcefulness of drug cartels can be very extensive. According to CBS News program “60 Minutes”, the shipments of containers seized by the Drug Enforcement Agency were “routine shipments” being delivered on a weekly or monthly basis (2012). The point is that the true amount of money attributed to the NDVC was in the level of the hundred millions to billions . Other methods used by the Norte del Valle Cartel to smuggle money included luggage, cars and furniture. The way that NDVC operated was similar to that of a fortune 500 company in sophistication. It is believed that there was a great deal of compartmentalization associated with their structures. For instance, at any given time only two or three individuals at the highest level of the organization knew the whereabouts of the drug supply and the suppliers. People involved in the transportation of the drug many a times did not know where the shipments would be made to in terms of final destination or who the drug supply was coming from. In the end, the way the NDVC was taken down was from following the money trail following the first seizure of money.

AP. "Reputed Cocaine Kingpin on FBI's Top 10 Most-wanted List Captured in Western Colombia." NY Daily News., 10 Sept. 2007. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
Bargent, James. "15 Years of Blood, Vengeance: The Norte Del Valle Cartel Feud Continues - InSight Crime | Organized Crime in the Américas." 15 Years of Blood, Vengeance: The Norte Del Valle Cartel Feud Continues - InSight Crime | Organized Crime in the Américas. N.p., 11 June 2013. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.

Crime, InSight. "Norte Del Valle Cartel - InSight Crime | Organized Crime in the Americas." Norte Del Valle Cartel - InSight Crime | Organized Crime in the Americas. Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0, n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.

Kraul March 20, Chris. "Colombia's Urabeños Criminal Gang Traffics in Mayhem." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.
“Taking Down Colombia's Super Cartel”. (2012). CBS News.

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