DEA Press Release

August 6, 1995

Arrest of Cali mafia leader

This morning, Thomas A. Constantine, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, congratulated the Colombian National Police (CNP) on the arrest of Miguel Angel Rodriguez-Orejuela, another of the world’s top cocaine traffickers.

Said Constantine, "Combined with brother Gilberto's capture on July 9 and that of Jose Santacruz-Londono’s on July 5, these three arrests strike a mortal blow against the unholy trinity who lead the Cali mafia. This is the capstone in a series of arrests of major leaders of the Cali drug mafia, perhaps the most significant criminal entity the world has ever seen."

These arrests are the result of a strategy put into place 4 years ago by the DEA, which, along with the CNP, has been instrumental in planning and orchestrating the immobilization of the Rodriguez-Orejuela enterprise.

"It was only a matter of time before Miguel would be arrested. When General Serrano and I met in May he gave his personal assurance that he would do everything in his power to capture the leaders of the Cali mafia. We are extremely gratified to see the results. This sends a clear message to those who think they are above the law. The international law enforcement community will not rest until all the drug kingpins are spending their nights and days behind bars," Constantine added.

Overall, the Cali mafia are responsible for 80 percent of the world’s cocaine with annual profits estimated at $8 billion. Miguel, also known as the "Transportation Specialist," was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Rodriguez-Orejuela organization, the most powerful of the Cali groups. He micro-managed all aspects of their multifaceted trafficking ventures, which included production, transportation, wholesale distribution, and money laundering. His older brother Gilberto had concentrated on "strategic planning" for the Cali group.

Miguel, who was born in 1943 in Cali, has been involved in drug trafficking since approximately 1980. He is responsible for smuggling multiton quantities of cocaine from Colombia into the United States, Canada, and Europe using a wide variety of sophisticated transportation and smuggling techniques. Seventy percent of the cocaine destined for the U.S. market is smuggled through Mexico.

Constantine added, "While Gilberto's arrest signalled the beginning of the end of the Cali mafia, this arrest further vindicates the honest people of Colombia who will prevail in their courageous fight against the powerful and ruthless narcotraffickers who have threatened their democracy."

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