Thu. Feb 2nd, 2023


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Concerns rise about gun crime as Cali cartel goes underground

3 min read

Swansea: Undercover police corner cocaine dealers in their car

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Despite these concerns, the Metropolitan Police have tried to calm fears that the Cali cartel may be involved in British turf wars, but remnants of the cartel remain.

These remnants are in the form of individuals known as “fixers” whose services are sought by people traffickers, drug and arms dealers alike. 

Some are so well hidden they have been operating under the radar for around two decades.

However, rather than trade in drugs or violence, these “fixers” trade in something more powerful, knowledge, and stay well behind the frontline trenches of drug warfare.

One expert said what happened in Euston should be an “amber alert” to police forces that more gun violence could be coming to the nation’s streets.

Despite Albanian drug dealers dominating the cocaine scene in the UK, the influence of the Cali cartel goes back nearly 20 years.

In 2009, one of their money launderers Carlos Arturo Sanchez-Coronado was exposed and extradited back to Colombia before pleading guilty.

He died last year and was swiftly followed by his widow, Fresia Calderone, and their daughter, Sara Sanchez.

Calderone reportedly died from a blood clot after flying into Heathrow from Colombia while Sara passed away from leukaemia.

It was at a memorial service for the two women that a gunman fired into a crowd and hit four individuals, the most seriously injured from the attack was a seven-year-old left with serious injuries.

Although Scotland Yard says it is still trying to establish who the intended target was, they have arrested a 22-year-old male who has since been bailed.

The first result of their investigation is to bring the Cali name back into the spotlight.

Dominant in the 1990s, the Cali cartel at one point controlled more than 90 percent of the global cocaine market.

However, their reign was brought to an end by the US Drug Enforcement Administration and Colombian police.

This didn’t stop them from playing a huge role in the UK’s drug supply. When the cartel collapsed, the price of cocaine rose by around 50 percent.

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Speaking to the Telegraph, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Insititute, said: “Several individuals who were involved [in the Cali cartel] in the UK are still operating in the UK but are self-employed.

“The Albanian gangs now control the drug trade in Britain – everything from the supply chain across the Atlantic to the county lines runners – but in order to import cocaine you need a local fixer, someone who knows all the right people.

“These fixers are crucial to the gangs, because without them it would be very difficult to get access quickly to all the criminal services you need, like fake documents, money laundering, front companies.

“They include former members of the Cali cartel, who are highly respected because the cartel was more sophisticated than its rivals. They were known as the KGB of the Colombian cartels.”

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