La Oficina de Envigado

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The Office of Envigado
Founded Diego Murillo Bejarano
Founding location Medellin, Colombia
Years active 1993–present[1]
Territory Medellin, its area and all Antioquia Department
Ethnicity Colombian
Criminal activities Drug trafficking, extortion, murder, money laundering, terrorism, bootlegging and gun-running
Allies Los Zetas, Los Rastrojos, Colombian paramilitary drug groups
Rivals The Usuga Clan

La Oficina de Envigado (English: The Office of Envigado) is a drug cartel and criminal organization founded as an enforcement and collections arm of Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel.[2] It operates throughout Colombia, but mainly in the cities of Medellín and Envigado. It also controls extortion, gambling, and money laundering businesses within the Valle de Aburra that surrounds Medellin. It positioned itself as the chief mediator and debt collector in drug trafficking disputes and maintained major connections with the paracos (Colombian paramilitaries) and guerillas.[3]

History[edit]

La Oficina was founded as an enforcement wing for the Medellín Cartel by Diego Murillo Bejarano, aka Don Berna (a Popular Liberation Army guerrilla deserter), however Murillo fell out with Escobar and eventually joined forces with Los Pepes in order to oust him. Murillo then began to affiliate his Oficina with the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia ("Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia", AUC, in Spanish), organizing drug trafficking operations on their behalf. La Terraza, a gang of the most feared hit men in the country, is also under La Oficina's control.[4]

La Oficina eventually evolved into a sizable narco-trafficking operation spanning from Medellín to the northern coast of Colombia, including the Panamanian border area, drawing many of its leaders from former Colombian paramilitary blocs. Its lower ranks are filled with teenagers and young men from the poorer neighborhoods in the hills of Medellin, mainly Robledo and Manrique, who moonlight as hit men willing to kill for as little as $25 USD.[5]

After the AUC demobilised in 2005, Murillo was arrested for the murder of a local politician, although he managed to run his empire from prison and made a deal with the authorities to use his power to keep violence to a minimum. In 2008, Murillo was extradited along with other paramilitary leaders, and La Oficina was hurt by infighting between rival factions led by Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco, alias Valenciano, and John Ericson Vargas Cardona, alias Sebastian, a native of Barrio Popular in Medellin, as well as conflict with the Usuga Clan. Vargas was arrested at his ranch in August 2012.[6]

Gang activities[edit]

As well as drugs, La Oficina controls a number of casinos and gambling establishments, which it uses to launder money. La Oficina also has links with local authority figures and police officers, some of whom moonlight as assassins, and it has alliances with Los Rastrojos and Los Zetas in Mexico.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Recompensa por jefe de la Oficina de Envigado". El Tiempo. 
  2. ^ "El rastro impune de la Oficina de Envigado". El Espectador. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  3. ^ 786. "Oficina de Envigado". InsightCrime. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Toby Muse in Medellín. "New drug gang wars blow Colombian city's revival apart". The Guardian. 
  5. ^ 786. "Oficina de Envigado". InsightCrime. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Colombia drug lord 'Sebastián' arrested". BBC News. August 8, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  7. ^ "Oficina de Envigado". InSight Crime. Retrieved 2012-10-14.