Pablo Escobar’s arch nemesis dies in US prison


A former leader of Colombia’s once-powerful Cali drug cartel has died in prison in the US, his family has said.

Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, 83, died on Tuesday while serving a 30-year drug trafficking sentence.

Rodriguez, who was sometimes known by his alias the Chess Player, led the cartel which once controlled 80% of the global cocaine market, according to a contemporary report from the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

He was extradited to the United States in 2004 and was serving time at a federal prison in Butner in North Carolina.

In a statement shared by his daughter Alexandra, Rodriguez’s family said he died of lymphoma.

Rodriguez’s brother Miguel was captured two months later in 1995 and is also serving a sentence in the US.

The brothers deployed bombs and vigilantes against their drug trafficker enemy Pablo Escobar, who was killed in a police operation in 1993.

They also confessed to financing political campaigns, including that of Liberal Party president Ernesto Samper in 1994, who has denied having any knowledge of the donations at the time.

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The drug lord’s 1995 arrest by Colombian authorities marked the beginning of the disintegration of the Cali cartel.

Rodriguez’s family said they were beginning the process of extraditing his remains back to Colombia.


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