José Santacruz Londoño
|Born||October 1, 1943
Santiago de Cali, Colombia
|Died||March 5, 1996
|Other names||Chepe, Don Chepe|
José Santacruz-Londoño (1 October 1943 – 5 March 1996) was a Colombian drug lord. Along with Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela and Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela, Santacruz-Londoño was a leader of the Cali Cartel. The trio was profiled in a TIME cover story in July 1991.
Santacruz-Londoño and Rodríguez Orejuela brothers formed the Cali cartel in the 1970s. They were primarily involved in marijuana trafficking. In the 1980s they branched out into cocaine trafficking. For a time the Cali Cartel supplied 70% of the United States and 90% of the European cocaine market.
The Cali Cartel was less violent than its rival, the Medellín Cartel. While the Medellín Cartel was involved in a brutal campaign of violence against the Colombian government the Cali Cartel grew. The cartel was much more inclined toward bribery rather than violence. However, after the demise of the Medellín Cartel the Colombian authorities turned their attention to the Cali cartel. The campaign began in the summer of 1995.
Several Cali Cartel leaders were also arrested during the summer of 1995. Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela was arrested on June 9. Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela was arrested on August 6.
Santacruz Londoño was arrested on July 4, 1995. However, he escaped on January 11, 1996 La Picota Prison in Bogotá. The police tracked him down to Medellín on March 5, 1996. He was killed while attempting to flee.