Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The sixteen strategems for trafficking cocaine used by the Cali cartel:

1. Inside planks of mahogany. They looked at export statistics and discovered that one of Colombia's biggest exports was mahogany. Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela went to the port of Buenaventura to study the trade. The timber goes in bundles of fifteen or twenty planks, and a plank is about 3 inches thick. They would place the "merchandise" in three holes along the plank, then seal it shut with powerful glue. The cocaine was flown to a secret airfield in Honduras, where the "carpentry" was done, then the wood was sent to Miami and New York. "There were approximately six such shipments of different quantities, and in the this way I managed to export 1,600 kilos."

2. Inside posts of cement. In 1990 and 1991 they sent cocaine via Venezuela in this way. There were three dispatches, each containing 200 or 300 kilos. In August 1991 US authorities intercepted a shipment.

3. In small bags of coffee. On three occasions in 1992 and 1993 they sent cocaine by sea from the port of Buenaventura in Colombia to Miami via Panama. The "owner of the route" was a Cuban-American called Jorge Lopez who constantly sent coffee this way, without drugs. "In each voyage I sent 300 or 400 kilos for a total of 800 or 900 kilos... the last shipment was intercepted by US authorities in August of 1993."

4. In door frames from Honduras. On about six occasions from 1984 cocaine was sent in this way to a company in Miami. A total of 650 kilos reached the US in this way.

5. In containers of broccoli and melon.From 1987 they sent cocaine from Colombia to Guatemala using secret airfields, then to Miami in refrigerated containers containing melon and broccoli. "We did fifteen or sixteen trips in which I sent 100 or 200 kilos for a total of about 1,200 kilos... the last two trips in 1992 were intercepted by US authorities."

6. In boxes of tiles. In April 1992 the brothers sent cocaine to Miami, via Panama, hidden in boxes of tiles to a company called Celeste Internacional. "The owner of Celeste Internacional was completely innocent, or blind, as they say, and was unaware what was going on behind his back."

7. In containers of insecticide belong to Dupont. They made two shipments between 1982 and 1984 from the port of Barranquilla, on Colombia's Caribbean coast, hidden in a shipment of extremely toxic insecticide. They sent 100 kilos each time, the second of which was intercepted. "Afterwards the owner of the route told me that not only had the merchandise been lost, but that they had started legal proceedings in the US, and detained several people.

8. Disguised as coal. In 1992 or 1993 they sent two shipments to "the Republic of Holland", 500 kilos each time. They mixed rocks of fake coal, containing cocaine, in with a shipment of real coal. "I don't know what the material was, but it looked identical to natural coal," said Gilberto.

9. "Cocaine that rains from heaven." From January 1993 until April or May of the same year, cocaine was dropped into the Caribbean, then picked up by a boat and taken to Florida. The shipment was 500 kilos, of which 200 kilos belonged to Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela. This shipment was intercepted by authorities in Miami, who had informers infiltrated in the gang.

10. Inside a machine for making toilet paper. The machine was called "Yankee Dryer". The machine was sent to Venezuela, then by sea to a company in New York. "The merchandise was hidden in a double bottom in the drying cylinder, a steel cylinder 3.5m in diameter. The machine went to New York on the pretext of repairing it, with the aim of re-exporting it to Colombia. I sent 250 kilos."

11. In drums of castor oil. On four or five occasions they sent 50-kilo shipments of cocaine to the United States and "the republic of Canada", inside drums of castor oil. The drums had a double wall, and cocaine was hidden in the cavity. Canadian authorities intercepted the final shipment, and made several arrests.

12. In coffee grinding machines. Between 1992 and 1994, 200 kilos of cocaine was sent to Guatemala hidden in the machines, then to Houston.

13. In frozen lobsters. "In 1995 I sent 100 kilos to Ecuador to be re-exported to Miami in containers of lobsters.... in December of 1994 I collaborated with a "Mr Ricky" to send cocaine from Cartagena to Mexico, then on to Houston.... Using this method I managed to smuggle about 150 kilos, and the rest was lost.

14. In containers of vegetables. Towards the end of 1987 they sent cocaine in light aircraft to Guatemala, then to the United States hidden in containers of vegetables. Each shipment contained about 300 kilos.

15. In ceramics. 500 kilos of cocaine was sent to Panama, with the idea sending it to Miami hidden inside ceramics. But the cocaine was captured in Panama City.

16. From Mexico in various ways. Between December 1993 and the first months of 1994, about 14 tonnes of cocaine was sent to some Mexican traffickers who sent it on to Houston or Los Angeles. "But due to secrecy and prudence we aren't sure what method they used."

From The Secret Confessions by the Rodriguez Orejuela brothers. The book is a series of interviews with Colombian prosecutors.