Former leader of the Cali Cartel dies in US prison

Colombian ex-capo Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela dies in a US prison. Rodríguez Orejuela was the leader of the powerful Cali Cartel. “...

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  • Colombian ex-capo Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela dies in a US prison.
  • Rodríguez Orejuela was the leader of the powerful Cali Cartel.
  • “We were very saddened to learn of his passing last night,” said the criminal’s lawyer.

Colombian drug dealer Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela, who was the leader of the powerful Cali Cartel, died in a United States prison, his defense attorney confirmed on Wednesday. Rodríguez Orejuel was 83 years old, according to The Associated Press.

“We were very saddened to learn of his passing last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time,” attorney David Markus told The Associated Press, without specifying the cause of death.

How Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela die?

Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela
Photo: AP

Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela had survived prostate and colon cancer. However, during the pandemic he claimed to have increasingly fragile health and requested early release for humanitarian reasons, which was denied in 2020 by a federal judge. Captured in Colombia in 1995 and extradited to the United States in 2004, he was serving a 30-year sentence in Butnert prison in North Carolina.

The authorities refused this request for “compassionate release” and the co-founder of the Cali cartel had to remain confined in the Butner Medium prison, in North Carolina, according to the Efe agency. Starting as a messenger in a pharmacy, Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela became one of the main drug barons in Colombia, managing to control 80% of the narcotics that were exported to the United States and Europe in the 1980s and part of the 1990s.

One of the founders of the Cali Cartel

Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela
Photo: Twitter

Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela was born in Mariquita, 175 kilometers northwest of Bogotá, on January 31, 1939. The drug trafficker was the second of eight siblings. When he was very young his parents Carlos Rodríguez Prieto and Ana Rita Orejuela moved the whole family to Cali where the rest of the children were born. Known as “El Ajedrecista”, he took the reins of the family from an early age, forced by the irresponsibility and aggressiveness of his father, to whom he never spoke again since he was about 12 years old, according to his son Fernando Rodríguez Mondragón, in an autobiography published in September 2007.

His alias was the product of the ingenious strategies he mounted to carry out his business. From his marriage to Mariela Mondragón, Fernando, Jaime, Humberto and Alexandra were born. Jorge Alberto came from an extramarital relationship with Nelly Herrera. He had another relationship with Miriam Ramírez Librero, who had a daughter named Claudia Pilar whom he later adopted. From this union came André Gilberto and José Alejandro.

The ex-capo was extradited in 2004

Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela
Photo: Twitter

A few days before being extradited from Colombia to the United States, in December 2004, Rodríguez Orejuela married Miriam so that the US authorities would grant her a visa to visit him. Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela and his brother Miguel dominated the entire cocaine market in New York and Europe, and in Colombia they had incomparable economic strength that allowed them to reach the high levels of political life.

In 1970, Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela set up his first apothecary, from which, years later, a large chain of pharmacies known as Drogas La Rebaja would come. This happened after venturing into the criminal world leading a gang known as “Los Chemas” which was blamed for the kidnapping of foreigners Hermann Buff, secretary of the Swiss embassy, ​​and José Stresale, son of the Swiss consul in Cali.

The post Former leader of the Cali Cartel dies in US prison appeared first on Mundo Hispanico.