Honduras captures drug cartel leader wanted in US

In a special operation, agents from the Honduran Special Operations Command and the National Anti-Drug Police Directorate of the Honduran National Police captured Herlinda Bobadilla, alias La Chinda, accused of leading a drug trafficking cartel on the Caribbean coast of Honduras with his sons, National Police said.

According to the police report, the authorities captured alias La Chinda in a jungle area of ​​the municipality of Limón, department of Colón. On May 15, Honduran National Police Director Gustavo Sánchez said one of his sons, Tito Montes Bobadilla, had died during the confrontation. Juan Carlos Montes Bobadilla, another son of Herlinda Bobadilla, is still at large.

“The Montes Narcotics Trafficking Organization sources, imports, transports and distributes drugs and launders illicit narcotics proceeds throughout Central America, Mexico and the United States,” spokesperson Ned Prize said. from the US State Department, in a statement in early May.

As part of its Narcotics Reward Program, the US State Department has offered a reward of up to $5 million in exchange for information leading to the arrest or conviction of the leaders of this criminal group. The award supported US government efforts to combat the destabilizing effects of transnational criminal groups in Central America.

According to the US State Department, the leadership roles in the organization of Bobadilla and her sons have grown since the 2019 arrest and subsequent extradition to the United States of Herlinda Bobadilla’s third son, Noe Montes Bobadilla, who is currently serving a 37-year prison sentence. conviction for drug trafficking.

The US State Department has offered $5 million for information to locate and arrest Herlinda Bobadilla and two of her children. (Photo: Honduran National Police)

“The ties she maintains with her family group do not give her supremacy over the criminal group. Whoever tries to replace her may or may not be a member of her family, may or may not be a relative,” said Misael Rivas Soriano, a Salvadoran security analyst and former dean of the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences at the New University of San Salvador. Dialogo. “They now know that their functioning is compromised at the core and they will make changes; I have no doubt that the security agencies, both in the United States and in Honduras, will be prepared for this.

The Montes Bobadilla have expanded their operations into the department of Colón on the Caribbean coast, an important stopover for cocaine transiting through Central America, as it is “a well-established route for cocaine transported by sea, air and earth”. organization that studies organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean, said.

According to Dr. Gustavo Duncan, a professor in the Department of Government and Political Science at EAFIT University in Medellín, Colombia, and an expert in drug trafficking, Honduras continues to be a major transit point for drug trafficking in from Colombia.

“The cartels in Colombia today are very different […]; what we find are private armies located in drug production areas, outlying areas where there is crop control, labs and exit routes,” Duncan said. Dialogo. “It is part of the dynamic of the Colombian conflict in which the state recovers territorial control, so that those who control drug trafficking can only have influence in remote areas, because the state has increased its capacity for repression .”

Herlinda Bobadilla remains under arrest, while the Honduran government pursues extradition proceedings to the United States.

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