• Among the members of the criminal organization ‘La Local’, there are two of its alleged leaders, alias Julito and alias Diego Optra who were prosecuted. They apparently fight over the drug trafficking territorial control in Buenaventura. 
  • The Attorney General visited the Naval Base in Bahía Málaga to establish joint work strategies with the National Navy, in order to combat homicide and drug trafficking in the region, as high-impact phenomena that affect public safety. 
  • In the municipality of Buga, which is part of the first phase of the intervention strategy, 16 homicides were clarified, and two criminal structures received a hard blow. 

Within the framework of the intervention strategy, aimed at clarifying homicides, which was carried out about a month ago in Buenaventura (Valle del Cauca) and following the strategic plan drawn up by the Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa Delgado, an elite team that involves, prosecutors, Investigators and analysts of the Branch Office in Valle, in association with the Special Investigation Unit (Unidad Especial de Investigación UEI), obtained the prosecution of 37 alleged members of the criminal organization La Local which operates in that city. 

These arrests allowed the clarification of 19 intentional murders, and 2 collective forced displacements of 452 families made up of 1,634 inhabitants of  neighborhoods Nuevo Amanecer, Caldas, El Progreso, Unión de Vivienda and Carlos Holmes Trujillo in the so- called ‘Comuna 12’ that were perpetrated through an armed incursion called La Purga between November 14 and 16, 2018. 

“I want to send a message to the community in Buenaventura, that these criminals are not going to ravage the Port any more, and that we will carry out this comprehensive action with the Navy, the Police and the Armada in this country,” stated the Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa, in his visit to the area aimed at knowing at  first hand the progress made with the implementation of the strategy. 

In this regard, Prosecutor Barbosa held a meeting with the commander of the Pacific Naval Force, Admiral John Fabio Giraldo Gallego, at the ARC “Málaga” Naval Base, 20 km from Buenaventura to join forces and establish joint work strategies that will allow the continuation of the intervention against high-impact crimes in the region, such as murders and drug trafficking which affects public safety and public health. 

The intervention 

Under the coordination of the Deputy Attorney General, Martha Mancera, the Branch Office in Valle and the UEI carried out the investigation that allowed to established that the criminal structure La Local, divided into the groups of Julio César Alegría Sánchez, alias Julito and Diego Fernando Bustamante, alias Diego Optra, would be involved in multiple crimes and that the structure was allegedly affecting public safety in the port, mainly in the so-called ‘comunas’ 11 and 12. 

The Office of the Attorney General established that the criminal actions of alias Julito would have started 10 years ago and they would be linked to drug trafficking and extortions in Buenaventura.  

On the other hand, it was established that alias Diego Optra would be an emblematic figure in the phenomenon of drug trafficking in Valle, especially in that Pacific port, and there is evidence that he would be involved in this illegal business for more than 15 years. Several of his relatives were even extradited and he allegedly gained control of the leadership and of drug trafficking activities in the region.  

Since 2018, a territorial dispute for the control of the main ‘comunas’ of the municipality to obtain the monopoly of drug trafficking has been triggered between these groups. 

Based on statements, technical and forensic evidence, and the analysis of the wiretappings, both individuals were linked as the main alleged perpetrators of the ravages in the ‘comunas’. Both were deprived of their freedom. The first one since April 2, 2019 and the second one since October 9 of the same year. However, it is clear that, even so, they continued committing crimes.  

With the prosecution of 29 alleged members and the alleged leaders, this criminal network received a hard blow. Among those who were investigated, 11 were arrested during the month in which the intervention was carried out;  6 people who were under the leadership of alias Julito and 5 more under alias Diego Optra. The others were deprived of their freedom for conspiracy to commit a crime and, on this occasion, the Office of the Attorney General charged them with murder and displacements. 

Moreover, as a result of a search warrant, eight more people were arrested by virtue of a court order and must face charges for the alleged commission of crimes while  belonging to this criminal organization. 

In total, 22 cell phones, ammunition and weapons were seized during these proceedings, as well as an approximate of 40 million pesos in cash. 

All 37 defendants of the criminal organization are deprived of their liberty.  

Intervention in Buga 

The first phase of the strategy was also concentrated in the municipality of Buga in order to counteract intentional homicide as a high-impact criminal phenomenon in the most vulnerable territories of this Department.  

During the investigations, homicides committed by criminal organizations that control neighborhoods Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, El Jardín, Divino Niño, Alto Bonito, the Carrilera sector and the Uninorte and Buga (Valle del Cauca) blocs, involved in drug trafficking, extortion and the commission of selective homicides, were associated. 

Based on the conclusive evidence in testimonial, technical, ballistic, and criminal matters, it was possible to prosecute and issue detention measures for 7 alleged members of Los Kawa criminal organization. This way, 5 homicides that took place  in 2020 were clarified. 

Likewise, the Office of the Attorney General prosecuted 8 alleged members of the criminal organization Los de La M, who would be allegedly involved in the commission of 11 homicides; one of them was multiple, 6 of them took place in 2019 and 5 in 2020, with a total of 14 victims in Guadalajara de Buga (Valle del Cauca). Four of the defendants were arrested and the others were deprived of their liberty. All of them remain in prison. 

According to what it was established, the main motivation of the homicides would be the fight over the territorial control of the drug trafficking business. This way, the members of the criminal groups allegedly perpetrated the crimes against those considered as adversaries, potential rivals, and even of their own members who smuggled drugs to increase their income. 

“With this, the Office Attorney General can announce that we have clarified 35 homicides in one month. It is an unprecedented case thanks to our integral intervention units”, concluded the Attorney General. 

The analysis of the evidence seized during the investigations will allow to strengthen phase two of the project  to achieve the clarification of the homicides perpetrated this year by these criminal organizations. For the Office of the Attorney General it is a priority to address issues that affect public safety in the territories  

The Office of the Attorney General makes this information public for reasons of general interest.