Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Brother of Former Colombian Senator Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Smuggling After Undercover DEA Operation

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat

The brother of a powerful leftist former Senator in Colombia pleaded guilty to federal narcotics charges as part of a sting in which he offered to introduce U.S. drug informants to dissident FARC guerrillas who could help them smuggle and provide protection for close to 3 tons of cocaine monthly through Colombia, Mexico, and on to New York.

Álvaro Fredy Córdoba Ruiz, dressed in prison garb, entered a plea in Manhattan federal court to a single count of conspiring to send 500 grams or more of cocaine into the U.S. He will be sentenced to a mandatory five years in prison but could also face more than two decades behind bars under sentencing laws. His plea does not contain any promise to cooperate with law enforcement.

“I knew that the cocaine would end up in the United States and I knew what I was doing was wrong,” Córdoba, who will be sentenced in April, told Judge Lewis J. Liman.

Córdoba, 64, was arrested in Medellin, Colombia, in 2022 and extradited to the U.S. almost a year ago by President Gustavo Petro, who was elected with the support of Córdoba’s sister, Sen. Piedad Córdoba. The case was something of a minefield for Petro, given his historic ties to the left as a former rebel himself and his newfound role as commander in chief of security forces that have long served as the United States caretaker in fighting narcotics smuggling in the South American nation.

Former Senator Piedad Córdoba in 2009.

Piedad Córdoba has been a harsh U.S. critic who, under previously conservative Colombian rule, promoted closer ties to Venezuela’s socialist government and more support for traditionally overlooked Afro-Colombian communities.

In 2007, Piedad Córdoba participated as an official government mediator for the humanitarian exchange discussions between the Government of Colombia and the FARC guerrilla group, along with the now-deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. After the end of the mediation in November, the FARC announced the release of hostages Clara Rojas and Consuelo González. She was nominated for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for her work promoting peace and human rights in conflict zones but her nomination caused controversy and uproar in the country.

She was judicially denounced for treason under Colombian law after making controversial declarations against the Colombian government and its president during a political event in Mexico in March 2007, a charge investigated by the Supreme Court. As part of the "FARCpolitics" scandal, Colombian authorities have probed her due to accusations linking the Senator with the FARC.

In 2018, she ran for President of Colombia, but was defeated at the polls.

While prosecutors have not accused the senator of any involvement in the drug conspiracy, her brother’s court-appointed attorney, John Zach, suggested in an October hearing that agents for the DEA instructed informants to target the politician. And the senator herself likened the sting against her and her brother to the manhunt decades ago that brought down Medellin cartel boss Pablo Escobar.

But her complaints of “political persecution” fell on deaf ears, with Petro signing off on Córdoba’s extradition shortly after he was elected. 

Petro’s decision was taken as a hopeful sign in Washington, which has relied on Colombia’s support for more than two decades to limit the supply of cocaine entering the U.S. More recently, however, Petro has lambasted the U.S.-led war on drugs.

DEA Sting

Although much of the U.S. case against Álvaro Córdoba remains sealed, Colombian court records from his attempt to block extradition show that a DEA confidential source approached him saying that he was looking for protection inside Colombia to smuggle as much as 3 tons (2.7 metric tons) of cocaine per month through Mexico to New York.

Córdoba then put the source in touch with an associate who said he had a large amount of “chickens” 

Córdoba also allegedly offered to make arrangements for the DEA source to visit a clandestine camp in southern Colombian jungles where 300 guerrillas armed with SAM (surface-to-air missiles) and other weapons would supply and provide safe passage for the narcotics. 

The rebel unit was run by a holdout commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, who refused to go along with a 2016 peace deal that Piedad Córdoba helped broker, prosecutors said.

Right before Christmas in 2021, Córdoba and an associate delivered to the confidential source and an undercover Colombian official a 5-kilogram sample of cocaine in exchange for $15,000, authorities said. A few months later, Córdoba was arrested. After being extradited to New York, additional weapons charges against him were dropped.


  1. Chapo snitched on him

  2. Where's BUGGS or anyone who reports on the Sonora state? A couple of shootouts have occurred since 12/29 (besides the Obregon massacre) and I don't see any posts here about that....

    1. Not everybody gives a fuck about your favorite cartel. As volunteers we cover other states as well.

    2. Correct takes time for each article since everyone here are quick to jump as soon as they see a mistake also I would hate to see every single incident made into a article and 3:58 if the article is not up it’s because they didn’t see much to write about it was not enough to make it something for us to read other than lo mataron. People on YouTube post all coverage and it creates false comments that we avoid here

    3. 3:58 Send the link, don't just stand there.

    4. lmao Sol Prendido cracks me up, but it's not about a favorite cartel, I have family in the region. Anyhow, how can one volunteer to post on this blog?

  3. Which is more corrupt? USA, MEXICO, OR COLUMBIA?

    1. They corrupt until they decide to bend em over and act like they didn't have any part of it when shit hits the fan

    2. There all very corrupt but I feel like without the US hand in everything and doing things like selling coke to fund coups in other countries. Then none of them would be nearly as corrupt if the US wasn't brokering deals and bringing billions in illegal money to keep these countries at war

    3. They form the holy trinity

    4. Colombia gets it part from the production, México from the transportation and USA from the consumption. Who keeps the biggest slice of the pie?

    5. 10:14 corruption countries in order; Mexico, USA and Columbia.

    6. I’d say the most overtly corrupt is Mexico and the most covertly corrupt is US.

    7. The one who gets caught


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