Comparative Perspective on Organized Crime

Topics: Pablo Escobar, Colombia, Medellín Cartel Pages: 5 (1491 words) Published: March 8, 2008
Comparative Perspective on Organized Crime

University of Phoenix
CJA 393- Criminal Organizations
Caesar Gerrard
November 11, 2007

This paper will look at the Medellin Cartel and the Cali Cartel's methods of operation, distribution of cocaine and the affect these cartels had on the drug trade in the United States. The Medellin Cartel was a well organized network of drug smugglers originating in the city of Medellin in Columbia and operating through the 1970s and 1980s. The Medellin Cartel existed in permanent conflict with the Cali Cartel and from the early 1980s onward the Colombian government. The founder of the Medellin Cartel was Pablo Escobar who was reported to have earned $60 million a month at the height of the Cartel and estimated to be worth as much a $28 billion in total assets. (DEA) Escobar, surround himself with people he trusted to run the Medellin Cartel which soon became in principal The Mafia. The leaders included Jorge Luis Ochoa, Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha and Carlos Lehder. These individuals lived quietly and in luxury, as leaders in the community. Pablo Escobar founded a newspaper, built homes for the poor and was elected to Congress in 1982. (Colombia) In 1983 President Belisario Betancur appointed Rodrigo Lara Bonilla Minister of Justice. Minister Bonilla launched a campaign against the drug trade and the El Espectador one of Bogotá's' leading papers launched a series of articles about Pablo Escobar's previous criminal behavior. In March 1984 Colombian National Police raided Tranquilandia, the largest cocaine laboratory in history. Tranquilandia had 14 independent laboratories, water and electrical supply, roads, dormitories and an airstrip. The laborites produced 3500 kilo grams of pure cocaine every month. The raid produced seizures of weapons, vehicles, airplanes and 14 tons of cocaine. (DEA) As a result of the raid on Tranquilandia the Medellin Cartel bosses disappeared from public life. Many of the bosses fled to Panama and attempted to broker a treaty with President Betancur for immunity offering to invest their capital into national development programs. The government rejected the treaty and the cartel leadership remained in hiding. The Cartel continued to operate and began to invest in land and industry. This resulted in the Cartel and its drug traffickers becoming major landowners and they began to build private armies to protect their investments. (Frontline) As the Cartel Leadership returned they turned their attention to their adversaries within the government. In 1984 the Medellin Cartel assassinated Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla who they considered their major adversary. The government responded by implementing an extradition treaty with the United States that had been signed years earlier but never enforced. Several drug traffickers were immediately sent to the United States to stand trial. The cartel responded and several government officials were assassinated. The government and Colombia's security forces along with the anti-narcotics police in cooperation of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration began to hunt for cartel leaders and have them extradited to the United States. This caused a war between the cartel and the government that lead to the arrest and extradition or death of several of the cartel leadership. (DEA) This war leads to negotiations between the remaining cartel leaders and the government, and the result was that the remaining leaders would surrender to the government and plead guilty to one crime in exchange for guarantees that they would not be extradited to the United States and would serve a reduced sentence in a prison in Medellin. This agreement leads to the imprisonment of Pablo Escobar and the eventual escape and manhunt that resulted in Escobar's death at the hands of the Colombian National Police. The death of Pablo Escobar leads to the decline of the Medellin Cartel and the growth of the Cali Cartel. (DEA)

The Cali...

References: Drug Enforcement Administration retrieved from
Frontline: Drug Wars the business Colombian traffickers retrieved from:
The New York Times: The Cali Cartel: Colombia 's Smoother Drug Gang retrieved from
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