In the last few hours, the Colombian National Police reported that Brian Donaciano Olguin Verdugo, alias El Pitt, a capo of the dangerous Sinaloa Cartel, has been arrested. The drug trafficker was located in the sector of Ciudad Jardín, in the south of Cali, capital of Valle del Cauca.
"We have managed to capture one of the people we consider to be the most important link in Colombia with the Sinaloa cartel of what is known here as the FARC of Ivan Mordisco and Gentil Duarte," said Police Commander General Jorge Luis Vargas.
The criminal had an Interpol red notice, entered Colombia in February 2022 through Jose Maria Cordoba Airport in Rionegro (Antioquia), and was found by tracking down a model with whom he had recently established a close relationship.
The reason for Pitt's visit was to coordinate meetings with former FARC dissidents, led by aliases Gentil Duarte and Ivan Mordisco, and to be the Mexican criminal organization's delegated interlocutor to buy drug shipments made in the country and send them to Central America.
Brian Donaciano Olguín Verdugo was being followed by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and alerted the Colombian authorities of the arrival of the drug trafficker, a person with a thick build, tattoos, and a height of around 5'8", who kept a close eye on his communications with encrypted messages to his liaisons.
According to information from Colombia's Anti-Narcotics Directorate (Dinar), the man used various means of transport to pass through the departments of Cauca, Nariño, and Valle del Cauca. A few days ago he arrived in Cali, where he frequented exclusive sectors to meet with people and close business deals. He had also acquired a property to settle there and become the Sinaloa Cartel's permanent liaison in the country.
"In Cali, also in a very low-profile manner, he was located in a building and, I reiterate, thanks to the surveillance modality of the National Police and specialized tracking work, he was captured," says General Vargas.
According to the statement issued by the police, alias Pitt had bellmen of Mexican nationality standing guard near his residence to warn him of strange movements and protect his life and liberty. When he found out that there were officers nearby, he called the doorman of his building to ask if he knew anything. A uniformed officer was already there, who took her call and responded that there was a routine procedure.
"Before hanging up the intercom, the uniformed officers arrived inside the apartment, without giving her time to escape from the police siege. There he was notified of the extradition request issued by the Southern District Court of California for conspiracy to import cocaine," they say.
When his capture was advanced, he tried to bribe police agents with up to 1 billion Colombian pesos to let him go, but his effort was unsuccessful. The next step for Colombian authorities will be to hand Brian Olguín over to the United States Government, where he is wanted by the Southern District Court of California for the crime of conspiracy to import cocaine.
According to General Vargas' estimates, the capture of alias El Pitt represents one of the most important captures of Mexican cartel delegates and drug buyers in Colombia.
"This person has an arrest warrant for extradition to the United States by the DEA, for the shipment of several hundred kilos to the United States. Additional information is that he also worked with the family of Mexico's most dangerous drug trafficker, El Chapo Guzman. This is how the US authorities have linked him," said General Vargas.
The model who ended up "turning in" the Mexican drug lord hiding out in Cali
A romantic getaway to the statue of Christ the King, located on the Los Cristales hill in western Cali, Colombia, ended the criminal career of one of the most wanted Mexican drug lords by the U.S. federal anti-Mafia agencies. The 39-year-old man, known by the alias of Pitt, arrived in Colombia last February and moved between Medellin and Cali, negotiating tons of cocaine with FARC dissidents for the Sinaloa cartel.
Everyone in the mafia knew that his bosses are directly related to Joaquin 'Chapo' Guzman and the elusive, powerful, and old capo Ismael 'Mayo' Zambada Garcia, whom DEA agents have not been able to capture. For this reason, 'Pitt', with a thick build and a height of 1.78 meters, became a kind of 'kingpin' in Cali.
Although he entered the country last February 18, through Bogota, he moved around the Valley -in armored cars, with an entourage of escorts-, in bars and luxurious restaurants. And on weekends, he would go down to Cauca and even as far as Nariño to negotiate cocaine shipments.
"He is the most important link between the FARC of 'Ivan Mordisco' and 'Gentil Duarte' and the 'Sinaloa cartel'. He bought cocaine in the south of Valle, Cauca and Nariño with the 'Dagoberto Ramos', 'Carlos Patiño' and 'Jaime Martínez' columns," said the director of the National Police, General Jorge Luis Vargas.
The key photo
"When he returned to Cali, he often met with a blonde model who accompanied him for several nights in the apartment they rented in a luxurious condominium in the Ciudad Jardín neighborhood," said one of the investigators in the case.
And he added that breaking all security protocols (including the use of applications with encrypted passwords), one holiday the model convinced him to go to Los Cristales hill, where, in addition, she let herself be photographed kissing her companion. The model almost immediately uploaded the image to her Facebook account.
And within hours, DEA agents informed Colombia's Anti-Narcotics Police that 'Pitt' is Mexican national Brian Donaciano Olguin Verdugo. Moreover, security cameras at the Jose Maria Cordova airport, which serves Medellin, had captured him with another attractive woman.
With this information, Colombian intelligence officers began to follow 'Pitt'. After about 14 days of surveillance, they established his routines, contacts, and even the number of escorts guarding him, armed to the teeth.
The surveillance of El Pitt
The exotic tattoos on Pitt's arms and abdomen - reported in the Interpol red notice - were also checked, as they were registered in the photographs that undercover agents took of the drug lord during the surveillance they carried out in Colombia. Newspaper EL TIEMPO learned of videos and photos in which the Mexican is seen in the company of the model, in the master bedroom of the luxury condominium.
This implied that, for weeks, undercover agents remained in a nearby apartment, doing surveillance work. The identification photographs were obtained when the emissary of the 'Sinaloa cartel' went out to smoke on the balcony and to give instructions to his liaisons through an encrypted application.
The DEA and the Anti-Narcotics Police were able to document the negotiations he was conducting to send cocaine shipments through Central America with a final destination in the United States. Part of his mission in Colombia was to guarantee the purity of the alkaloid and to define whether he paid for the shipments in cash or with weapons.
"Kinglet and Prince"
EL TIEMPO established that 'Pitt' is a native of Culiacán (Sinaloa) and that he appears with an open civil process in the sixth court of Tijuana, southern California. But, on the other side of the border, a court in the southern district of California (United States) is prosecuting him for being one of the key players in the new structure of the 'Sinaloa cartel'.
"This criminal organization was restructured after the capture of Joaquín 'Chapo' Guzmán and the fluid collaboration that Vicente Zambala Niebla, 'Vicentillo' or the 'Prince of the cartel', gave to the DEA," a source in Mexico told this newspaper.
Vicentillo is the spoiled son of 'Mayo', who, after a long collaboration with the US justice system, is now free in the United States. After this blow to the cartel, which included the surrender of the identities of dozens of its drug traffickers, they began to recruit people like alias Pitt, the 'kingpin' in Cali until Friday, April 1st, when he was captured.
Bribery and lawyers
Pitt wields such power in Mexico that he told the Colombian uniformed officers who captured him that if he were in their country, an armed squad would have freed him in seconds. And he offered them a bribe of one billion pesos if they would release him.
This was confirmed by General Vargas himself, who did not hesitate to describe this capture operation as one of the most important blows to drug trafficking: "We believe that this result is the most important in terms of captures of Mexican cartel delegates who come to commit crimes with Farc drug trafficking in Cauca".
And although his Mexican escorts were in the area, watching for strange movements of the police in the sector, they were unable to react. This newspaper established that an intelligence officer posed as the doorman of the condominium and told 'Pitt' that the presence of a group of people on the block was due to a routine visit.
But it was the anti-narcotics police agents who had located the coordinates where the Mexican was and the exact time to extract him from there without his guard reacting.
When 'Pitt' was hanging up the apartment's intercom, apparently calm because of the doorman's report, the Police was already entering the luxurious property and reading him the arrest warrant for extradition purposes, issued by a federal court.
Now the Mexican national remains in the Dijín's cells, with a reinforced security scheme, while an office of lawyers is trying to file the necessary legal appeals to avoid his extradition. EL TIEMPO established that, in 2018, the Mexican had already been in Colombia for a short period; and in June 2020 he returned to the country.
Apparently, at that time, in the middle of the pandemic, he was establishing contacts with FARC dissidents. In addition, it was established that he spent several days in Lima (Peru) before landing at Bogota's El Dorado airport, from where the DEA plane that will take him to California (United States) directly to a maximum-security cell will now depart.
In Culiacan, the news is only now spreading. There, alias Pitt was known for being the owner of a supermarket chain. But now he has been notified that he was, no more and no less, the emissary of the powerful Sinaloa cartel in Colombia.
In the Mexican mafia, the capture unleashed nervousness because it is not ruled out that alias Pitt will follow in the footsteps of 'Vicentillo' and begin to give away not only the partners and location of his bosses and allies but also his mafia contacts in Colombia.
Mexicans are in Colombia
Mexican drug cartels have been present in Colombia for several years, as EL TIEMPO revealed in 2020 and 2021.
Emissaries from these organizations not only come to buy drugs and export them to Central and North America but are also behind threats to the population, vaccinations, social cleansing, and assassinations in departments such as Cauca, Putumayo, Caquetá, Antioquia, and Córdoba. They even send agronomists to verify and guarantee the purity of the alkaloid.
Less than a month ago it was known that messengers from the Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) and Sinaloa cartels landed in Venezuela to negotiate a truce between the FARC and ELN dissidents, because the violent clashes in the Apure region, bordering Colombia, are affecting their criminal operations.