Victor Patiño-Fomeque

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Victor Patiño-Fomeque

Victor Julio Patiño-Fomeque aka El Quimico (the Chemist) is a Colombian narcotrafficker member of the Cali Cartel and Norte del Valle Cartel, currently serving time in a prison in the United States. Patino-Fomeque was responsible for ensuring the security and effectiveness of the Cali Cartel's maritime operations of drug shipments. He surrendered to Colombian authorities on June 24, 1995, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.[1]

Patiño was once a Colombian policeman and was recruited later by Gilberto and Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela, leaders of the Cali Cartel, to be their bodyguard.[2]

On October 7, 2005, Patino and his mother testified in the United States and accused a prominent Colombian politician named Vicente Blel of being one of his major nominees. According to Patino, Blel met him under a fake name, Julio Gómez, to disguise his relation to the Cali Cartel and also said that he was a businessman from Cali willing to collaborate in the presidential campaign of Ernesto Samper. Patino was also personally introduced to Horacio Serpa, Samper's chief of debate back then[when?]. Blel responded that he indeed had met with Patino, thinking it was in fact Gomez, the businessman, and had collaborated with him several times, even helping him to put properties under his name and with numerous other favors. Patino and other members of the Cali Cartel used corruption as a way to protect their drug business.[3]

However, since he decided to testify in the U.S., he saw at least 35 family members and friends slaughtered in retaliation for his betrayal.[citation needed]

Patiño-Fomeque was to be released on June 28, 2010, after serving six years in the United States prison system. The DEA decided it was best for Patiño-Fomeque to return to Colombia, since it wouldn't be fair for the US government to protect a criminal of his stature. Upon his return to Colombia, Patiño-Fomeque faces several homicide and extortion cases against him.[4]