Colombian authorities arrested 24 people in Bogota and four departments of the country accused of being frontmen of the Ecuadorian drug trafficker Édison Washington Prado Alava, known by the alias of "Gerard," the Prosecutor's Office said today.
The operation, supported by Colombian police and the US anti-drug agency DEA, allowed the capture of these people that was carried out simultaneously in the departments of Valle del Cauca, Nariño, Cesar and Tolima, the prosecution said in a statement.
"This is a blunt blow to drug trafficking and to all the criminal activities that derive from it," the director of the Colombian Police, General Jorge Nieto Rojas, told a news conference.
Alias "Gerard", extradited in February of this year to the United States, was captured in April 2017 in Cali, capital of the department of Valle del Cauca (southwest) along with Ecuadorian Leonardo Adrián Vera, alias "Thiago", and Colombians Robinson Alberto Castro, alias "Rocho", and Diego Fernando Arizala, alias "Zorro".
The information from the Prosecutor's Office adds that the detainees acquired luxury goods with cash proceeds of drug trafficking activities led by Prado Alava, who also identified himself as John Alex Rengifo García to try to mislead the authorities.
"Some of the homes purchased, whose costs ranged between 200 million pesos (about 62,000 dollars) and 5,000 million pesos (about 1.5 million dollars), were even used to hide large amounts of money," the Prosecutor's Office assures.
Among the assets seized are an area of more than 450 hectares in Tumaco, department of Nariño, bordering Ecuador, which was destined to livestock and the planting of plantains and cocoa.
The captured persons remained at the disposal of the Prosecutor's Office and will be charged for the crimes of money laundering, conspiracy to commit a crime, testaferrato and illicit enrichment.
The investigations seized more than 3,070 million pesos (about 950,000 dollars) and 7,430 dollars in cash.
125 goods between vehicles, real estate, companies and bank accounts, all valued at more than 120,000 million (about 37 million dollars), were also used to extinguish the domain.