Colombia Drug Cartel's Violent Enforcer Convicted Of Violently Enforcing Things
Oscar Varela García is a bad dude.
The high-level coordinator of a murderous Colombian cocaine-smuggling organization was convicted in Miami last Friday of murder, obstruction of justice and five counts of conspiracy to do all sorts of illegal things, including launder money and distribute cocaine.
Garcia oversaw a "large group of enforcers and hitmen" known as "Los Machos" that used kidnapping, torture and murder to influence players in the "Colombian cocaine underworld," according to the U.S. Department of Justice. They were an arm of the Norte Valle Cartel, which is accused of more than 1,500 murders in Colombia, according to a 2007 BBC report.
Garcia was captured by the Colombian Army and extradited to Miami as part of the FBI's "Operation Resurrection," a spectacularly named investigation targeting the cartel.
In addition to the oversight of violent action of all stripes for the organization, Garcia was specifically implicated in the murder of a U.S. informant in Colombia -- the victim was "lured to a farm," according to a Department of Justice press release, then dismembered and thrown in a river. Garcia suggested coercing the man to admit to what he'd told investigators by breaking the man's legs with a baseball bat then squeezing the leg at the broken point.
Not a fun fellow to be around.
Though Norte Valle has reportedly fallen from power since the 2007 capture of leader Diego Montoya Sánchez, the FBI claims it was responsible for 60 percent of all Colombian cocaine in the United States at its peak. (For reference: The White House says 90 percent of all cocaine in the U.S. comes through Colombia.) The group is also accused of 1,500 murders, according to the BBC.
The FBI said in Montoya's trial that the group was using speedboats to smuggle up to 13,000 pounds of cocaine at a time, part of a South American market estimated in 2009 to export more than 1.3 million pounds of cocaine a year by hiding it in shark carcasses, shipping it in home-made submarines and sculpting replica World Cup trophies out of it, though it's unclear in the latter case whether it was for smuggling purposes or just a desperate attempt to make soccer more interesting.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Miami, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.