In a recent revelation, Mexico’s military intelligence has reportedly linked a prominent Colombian bank, associated with the controversial Char Clan, to the notorious Sinaloa Cartel’s drug trafficking operations. This news has sent shockwaves across both nations, raising concerns about the extent of cartel influence in Colombia’s financial and political sectors.
The Leaked Report
According to a leaked intelligence report, the Sinaloa Cartel, under the factions of “El Mayo” and the sons of the infamous drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman, has established a significant foothold in Colombia’s Caribbean ports. These ports, namely Barranquilla, Santa Marta, and Cartagena, are of strategic importance for the cartel’s cocaine trafficking routes, either heading to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula or branching out to Africa and Europe.
This revelation aligns with previous warnings from Colombia’s Ombudsman’s Office, which has been vocal about the Mexican cartel’s involvement in the Caribbean region’s drug trafficking since 2020.
The Financial Connection
The report delves deeper into the financial intricacies of this operation. It suggests that the cartel, to ensure smooth operations, has constructed a financial framework within the Colombian banking system to manage the revenue from their illicit activities. The spotlight here is on Alex Char, a mayoral candidate for Barranquilla. The report alleges that Char met with Sinaloa Cartel representatives in 2021 to facilitate operations in the Barranquilla Port Society and in Serfinanza, the Char Clan’s bank. This bank boasts a vast network with dozens of branches spread across Colombia.
Furthermore, the Char family holds a significant stake in the Barranquilla Port Society, which oversees the operations of the Caribbean container port.
Repercussions and Responses
Following the release of this report, Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro has urged the nation’s banking regulator to launch a thorough investigation into Serfinanza. In defense, the Char Clan’s bank has vehemently denied any association with Mexican drug trafficking operations. The mayoral candidate from the Char family has also dismissed these claims, suggesting that such reports are mere attempts to sabotage his election campaign.
In a related development, Arturo Char, a sibling of the mayoral candidate and former Senate President, was apprehended on charges of election fraud by the Supreme Court in September.
The alleged connection between Colombia’s Char Clan bank and the Sinaloa Cartel underscores the intricate web of drug trafficking operations and their potential influence on political and financial institutions. As investigations unfold, it remains to be seen how deep these connections run and what implications they hold for Colombia’s future.